Shares in Imperial Brands (LON:IMB) have advanced in London in today’s session, even as the company revealed a fall in its half-year profits. Investors, however, have reacted positively to news that the blue-chip group has made ‘significant progress’ in its next-generation products (NGP).
As of 10:22 BST, Imperial Tobacco’s share price had added 4.58 percent to 2,738.50p, outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.47 percent higher at 7,600.98 points. The group’s shares have lost over a quarter of their value over the past year, as compared with about a 3.5-percent rise in the Footsie.
Imperial Brands posts interims
Imperial Brands announced in a statement today that its total tobacco volume had dipped 2.1 percent in the first half of its financial year. The group’s reported operating profit meanwhile dipped 7.6 percent to £833 million, reflecting the impact of the administration of the UK distributor Palmer & Harvey. The tobacco maker, however, reported ‘significant progress’ in its NGP segment, with the roll-out of myblu and proprietary innovation in vapour and heated tobacco.
“We are on track to deliver on our full year expectations,” Imperial Brands’ chairman Mark Williamson commented in the statement, adding that the group was also “progressing a number of divestment opportunities that will further simplify the business and free up capital”.
Analysts weigh in on results
“The market had put Imperial Brands in the dog house until recently, largely due to its perceived lack of heat-not-burn alternative tobacco products,” Hargreaves Lansdown fund manager Steve Clayton commented, as quoted by City A.M. “With the Blu e-vapour range performing strongly, heat-not-burn products now in late-stage development and signs of improvement in the core tobacco performance, Imperial is finding support once more.”