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Imperial Brands share price: Group’s chairman expected to step down

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Imperial Brands (LON:IMB) is expected to announce that Mark Williamson will step down as chairman of the tobacco group in the coming months, The Times has reported. The move has been prompted by the introduction of more stringent corporate governance rules.

Imperial Brands’ share price fell in the previous session, shedding 1.09 percent to 2,537.50p, underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index giving up 22.40 points to end trading 0.32 percent lower at 7,071.18, pressured by worries over the US-China trade relations. The group’s shares have lost just under four percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a 0.3-percent fall in the Footsie.

Imperial Brands chair to retire

The Times reported this morning that Imperial Brands had been engaged in succession planning over chairman Mark Williamson’s tenure which exceeds new guidance of nine years, and could soon confirm his resignation.

The newspaper noted that at the cigarette maker’s  annual meeting in Bristol last week, shareholders speaking for almost 18 percent of votes cast had voted against his re-election, although much of the opposition was believed to have been due to fears of ‘overboarding’ — taking on too many other boardroom posts — by the chairman.

Analysts on cigarette maker

Jefferies and Liberum Capital both reaffirmed Imperial Brands as a ‘buy’ last month, without specifying price targets on the shares, while Credit Suisse, which is also bullish on the blue-chip group with a ‘buy’ rating, set a price target of 3,350p on the shares. According to MarketBeat, the cigarette maker currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 3,036.43p.

Imperial Brans updated investors on its full-year performance in November, posting a rise in full-year revenues and a fall in earnings per share.

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