February 7, 2018 / 9:00 AM / 16 days ago

UPDATE 1-Imperial Brands says on track to meet forecasts

(Adds details on vaping launches, Palmer & Harvey, currency)

LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Imperial Brands is on track to meet forecasts for the current financial year and is focusing on expanding its presence in vaping, the British tobacco company said on Wednesday.

In a statement ahead of its annual meeting on Wednesday the company also forecast the challenges it expects from the strengthening British pound, and said it plans to exclude a write-off of up to 160 million pounds related to the failure of its UK distributor Palmer & Harvey from its adjusted results.

Imperial expects to meet net revenue and earnings expectations on a constant currency basis for the 12 months to the end of September, although performance will be weighted towards the second half.

“We are significantly stepping up our level of activity in Next Generation Products, with multiple launches in the next few months,” the maker of Gauloises and West cigarettes said.

It plans to roll out the “myblu” e-cigarette to at least 10 markets, such as France and Britain, by the end of the financial year and is “refining” its heated tobacco offerings ahead of broader testing in the coming months.

The company said the strengthening British pound would reduce net revenue and adjusted profit by 3.5 percent at the half-year and 2.5 to 3 percent at the full year. (Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens)

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