British American Tobacco said on Thursday it was still working towards transferring its Russian business and that it was confident in delivering its financial targets irrespective of how long it takes to offload the unit.
The maker of Lucky Strike and Newport cigarettes, which stuck to its 2022 revenue and earnings forecast, said annual global tobacco industry volume is seen down about 3% due to the uncertainty over the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
BAT, which makes Pall Mall and Rothman's cigarettes, controls just under 25% of the Russian tobacco market.
Jack Bowles, BAT chief executive, added, “We are proud that BAT’s transformation continues at pace, with strong revenue and volume growth in all three New Categories driving share gains across our key markets. We are leveraging the strength and increasing scale of our three global drive brands, and are continuing to reduce New Category losses.
“Our New Category business is increasingly contributing to group performance, and we are confident in delivering our £5 billion New Category revenue and profitability targets by 2025.”
The tobacco giant said the war in Europe was increasing global uncertainty and disruption, making inflationary pressures on supply chains worse and hitting consumption, while increasing costs.
Its distributor, SNS Group of Companies, said in March the two firms were in advanced talks over the transfer of the business after Moscow suggested it could nationalise assets of foreign firms that left the country.
BAT in early March had cut its 2022 forecast due to the planned exit.