July 24, 2012 / 6:18 AM / in 5 years

Imperial Tobacco sees growth as 2011 problems fade

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) - Sales growth gathered pace at Imperial Tobacco with 9-month revenue up 3 percent at the world’s No 4 cigarette group as it gained from the ending of a price war in Spain and put many of its other 2011 problems behind it.

The British group, which sells over 340 billion cigarettes annually of brands such as Gauloises, West and JPS, said on Tuesday its volumes for the nine months to end-June fell three percent, so it relied on price rises for its sales growth.

The Bristol-based company has aimed to counter the downturn in Europe by offering cheaper cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco products for many smokers, and also raise the price of brands for more affluent consumers.

The group saw a return to sales growth in the first three months of 2012 to offset a fall in the last quarter of 2011 when Spanish woes, destocking in the United States and Ukraine and United Nations sanctions on Syria hit group revenues.

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