Lock­down life for tobacco com­pany

Bristol Post - - NEWS - John HOUSEMAN bris­tol­post­news@lo­cal­world.co.uk

IM­PE­RIAL Brands has said that smok­ers flocked to its cig­a­rettes and other tobacco prod­ucts more than ex­pected dur­ing the year of lock­down, even as they moved away from its va­p­ing cat­e­gory.

The Bris­tol-based com­pany said that rev­enue from its tobacco prod­ucts is ex­pected to rise by around one per cent.

It comes as cus­tomers changed their be­hav­iour dur­ing the pan­demic, in ways that were not en­tirely ex­pected.

“Con­sumers ap­pear to have al­lo­cated more of their spend to tobacco,” the com­pany said in a state­ment to share­hold­ers yes­ter­day.

It added: “The tobacco busi­ness has con­tin­ued to per­form well de­spite an un­cer­tain and dis­rupted trad­ing en­vi­ron­ment.”

The growth was driven by the US and some Euro­pean coun­tries.

But the com­pany’s next gen­er­a­tion prod­ucts cat­e­gory - known in­ter­nally as NGP - fared much worse than the traditiona­l parts of the busi­ness.

The unit, which in­cludes prod­ucts such as vape pen Blu, will see rev­enue drop by 30 per cent dur­ing this fi­nan­cial year, ac­cord­ing to Im­pe­rial. “The fo­cus in NGP has been on im­prov­ing per­for­mance, re­turns and ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” the busi­ness said.

“As pre­vi­ously an­nounced, we have sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced in­vest­ment while main­tain­ing a range of op­tions for future growth. Trad­ing has been dis­ap­point­ing, al­beit in line with our re­vised ex­pec­ta­tions with the level of un­der­ly­ing losses re­duced in the sec­ond half as we cur­tailed ex­pen­di­ture.”

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Ste­fan Bomhard, who took over ear­lier this year, said that the com­pany had shown “re­silience” through the cri­sis.

“In my first three months as CEO I have fo­cused on re­view­ing our strat­egy, en­gag­ing with em­ploy­ees, and vis­it­ing as many of our key mar­kets as pos­si­ble. I have been struck by the en­ergy and pas­sion of my col­leagues, which in­creases my con­fi­dence in our abil­ity to de­liver a stronger per­for­mance in the years ahead.”

He promised to share more of his observatio­ns from the first three months in the role when the com­pany pub­lishes its re­sults in Novem­ber.

The firm has its global head­quar­ters on Win­ter­stoke Road in the Ash­ton area of South Bris­tol.

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