Imperial Brands reports 3.9% rise in sales, names Esperdy chairman

LONDON (Reuters) – British tobacco company Imperial Brands (IMB.L) on Tuesday reported a 3.9% rise in annual sales in line with forecasts and appointed Thérèse Esperdy to succeed Mark Williamson as chairman.

Esperdy, the senior independent director of the board, will take up her new role on Jan. 1, 2020. Williamson, chairman since 2014, announced in February that he would step down once a successor was found.

The maker of Winston and Gauloises cigarettes reported revenue from tobacco and next-generation products – e-cigarettes and vapour-based devices – of 7.99 billion pounds ($10.29 billion), up 3.9% on a constant-currency basis.

Analysts had expected sales of 7.93 billion pounds after the company cut its annual revenue growth forecast to 2% in September from an estimate of the upper end of 1%-4%.

The fourth-largest tobacco company has been hit harder than its peers from a U.S. ban on selling flavoured e-cigarettes.

“2019 has been a challenging year with results below our expectations due to tough trading in Next Generation Products,” outgoing Chief Executive Officer Alison Cooper said in a statement.

The company said it has taken a more cautious approach to its 2020 forecast and expects low-single digit revenue and earnings per share growth, excluding any impact from an ongoing divestment programme.

Source – Reuters