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Imperial Brands looking to sell its premium cigar business as part of ongoing divestment programme

The FTSE 100-listed tobacco firm said whilst various options are being evaluated “there can be no certainty that any transaction will take place or as to the terms of any such transaction”

Cigar smoker
Imperial Brands launched its divestment programme in May 2018 and expected to generate proceeds of up to £2bn by May 2020, if not earlier

Imperial Brands PLC (LON:IMB) has confirmed its intention to sell its worldwide premium cigar business as part of an ongoing divestment programme to raise up to £2bn.

The FTSE 100-listed tobacco group, which is being advised by AZ Capital with respect to the sale of Premium Cigars, said whilst various options are being evaluated “there can be no certainty that any transaction will take place or as to the terms of any such transaction.”

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It pointed out: “Premium Cigars has performed well over a number of years with good revenue and profit growth; however, it is a unique luxury business with a different consumer base and route to market relative to Imperial's other businesses.”

The company said the sale of the business “provides an attractive opportunity to realise shareholder value” and added that further announcements will be made as appropriate in due course.

Imperial Brands launched its divestment programme in May 2018 and expected to generate proceeds of up to £2bn by May 2020, if not earlier.

So far the group has realised £280mln from the sale of a portfolio of other tobacco products in the USA and the disposal of a further 9.99% stake in Spainis distribution group Logista.

It said significant progress has been made with a number of other divestment opportunities, with the priority of maximising shareholder returns, although recognising that tobacco valuations have come under some pressure in the last 12 months, the group added, assets will be sold only if they will realise appropriate value.

The divestment programme is part of an ongoing simplification agenda and will release capital to pay down debt and, where appropriate, invest in its growth agenda, Imperial Brands added.

In afternoon trading, shares in Imperial Brands edged 0.3% higher to 2,435p.

Quick facts: Imperial Brands

Price: 1506.5 GBX

LSE:IMB
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £14.26 billion
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