IMPERIAL BRANDS PLC
Pre-Close Trading Update
27 March 2019
Imperial Brands PLC issues the following trading update ahead of its close period on 1 April 2019.
We confirm we are on track to meet constant currency net revenue and earnings expectations for the full year, with Group net revenue growth at, or above, the upper end of our 1-4% revenue growth range and EPS growth within our 4-8% guidance range.
Next Generation Products
myblu is performing well with increased investment driving brand awareness with smokers and vapers and significant year on year revenue growth. We have built strong retail share positions in Europe and in Japan. In the USA, we have achieved good year-on-year revenue growth, despite some constraints due to market uncertainty following statements by the US Food & Drug Administration.
We are on track to deliver modest revenue growth in Tobacco with growth weighted to second half, more than offsetting a slight decline in the first half. Price/mix continues to be strong, while volume trends are slightly behind the second half of last year impacted by the phasing of trade inventories, including in the US post our recent price increase.
Operating profit and EPS
Operating profit in the first half reflects continued underlying growth in Tobacco profits albeit more than offset by increased investment in blu of £100m, as highlighted in November.
First half earnings per share will also be impacted by the reduction of our Logista stake and last year's divestment of our Other Tobacco Products business. We continue to expect to realise £50-100m of other gains this year which will benefit the second half.
Translation FX at current rate of exchange is expected to benefit first half earnings by c. 2% and be flat for the full year.
Cash and net debt
Underlying cash conversion remains strong and we expect full year cash conversion will be around 90%. As guided, first half cash conversion will reflect the timing of Logista cash flows and the working capital investment to support the UK business through Brexit.
Following the announcement of our divestment programme last year, we have made significant progress on a number of value creation opportunities within our capital discipline framework.
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Certain statements in this announcement constitute or may constitute forward-looking statements. Any statement in this announcement that is not a statement of historical fact including, without limitation, those regarding the Company's future expectations, operations, financial performance, financial condition and business is or may be a forward-looking statement. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or implied in any forward-looking statement. These risks and uncertainties include, among other factors, changing economic, financial, business or other market conditions. These and other factors could adversely affect the outcome and financial effects of the plans and events described in this announcement. As a result, you are cautioned not to place any reliance on such forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements reflect knowledge and information available at the date of this announcement and the Company undertakes no obligation to update its view of such risks and uncertainties or to update the forward-looking statements contained herein. Nothing in this announcement should be construed as a profit forecast or profit estimate and no statement in this announcement should be interpreted to mean that the future earnings per share of the Company for current or future financial years will necessarily match or exceed the historical or published earnings per share of the Company. This announcement has been prepared for, and only for the members of the Company, as a body, and no other persons. The Company, its Directors, employees, agents or advisers do not accept or assume responsibility to any other person to whom this announcement is shown or into whose hands it may come and any such responsibility or liability is expressly disclaimed.
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