LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Imperial Tobacco said it expects first-half adjusted operating profit to be down year on year, hit by black market competition in Europe as it posted a 2 percent rise in net revenue in the last three months of 2012.
Imperial, the world’s fourth-largest cigarette group, said its stick equivalent volumes were down 1 percent over the period. It also said revenue in its key strategic brands rose 12 percent while volumes grew 10 percent over the period.
“Towards the end of the first quarter and into January, market trends have worsened in a number of key markets including in the EU and Russia,” the company said.
“Given our ongoing investment and the European market pressures, we expect first half adjusted operating profit to be down year on year,” it said.