BAT share price: Group posts better-than-expected 2014 revenue
British American Tobacco Plc (LON:BATS) today reported slightly higher-than-expected revenue for 2014, despite a 1.4-percent fall in cigarettes volume. BAT’s financial report was well-received by investors, as it revealed that the company managed a strong underlying performance last year in a challenging trading environment. Adding to the positive news, BAT said that its board had recommended a final dividend of 100.6p, taking the 2014 total dividend to 148.1p per share, up four percent from a year earlier.
In today’s trading, BAT shares were up 1.5 percent at 3,788.50p, as of 08:53 UTC. The stock has risen 6.2 percent since the start of the year, boosting the company’s market capitalisation to £69.5 billion.
BAT chairman Richard Burrows commented on the results: “The Group continued to perform extremely well despite challenging trading conditions. We grew revenue and profit at constant rates of exchange and we increased our market share.” He added that although the company’s reported results had been impacted by unfavourable currency rate movements, “the underlying performance of our business remains strong”.
BAT’s full year-revenue came in at £13.97 billion, up 2.8pc after adjusting for unfavourable currency movements, and ahead of analyst estimates of £13.89 billion. Excluding the currency impact, the company’s full-year profit from operations rose 4.4 percent to £6.1 billion.
BAT sold 667 billion cigarettes last year, down from 676 billion in 2013. However the fall was smaller than the overall decline of 2.5 percent in the tobacco industry, thanks to a strong performance of the company’s Global Drive Brands, which include Dunhill, Rothmans and Pall Mall, among others.
According to the Financial Times, the 17 analysts offering 12 month price targets for BAT have a median target of 3,750p, with a high estimate of 4,200p and a low estimate of 2,925p.As of February 14, 2015, the consensus forecast amongst 25 polled investment analysts covering BAT has it that the company will outperform the market. This stance has been maintained since January 30, when the sentiment of investment analysts improved from “hold”.
As of 10:37 GMT, Thursday, 26 February, British American Tobacco plc share price is 3,756.50p.