BAT - continues growth in 1st half of 2009..

July 30, 2009 - LONDON -- British American Tobacco (BAT) PLC reported Thursday, July 30th that its first half profit rose 16 percent from a year earlier to 1.45 billion pounds ($2.38 billion) as top brands such as Lucky Strike showed better sales.

Revenue was up 24 percent to 6.78 billion pounds, a 14 percent gain on a constant currency basis, boosted by last year's acquisitions of Skandinavisk Tobakscompagni of Denmark and Tekel of Turkey.

Group volumes rose 5 per cent; however, excluding acquisitions volumes declined 2 percent, mainly due to falling sales in Russia, Ukraine, Japan and Mexico.

The company reported good volume growth in Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Nigeria and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Volume of premium brands was down 1 percent excluding acquisitions.

The company raised its interim dividend by 26 percent to 27.9 pence.

BAT's four "global drive brands" grew by 5 percent, with Dunhill up 8 percent, Lucky Strike up 7 percent and Pall Mall up 10 percent. Kent was 2 percent lower.

BAT has continued to grow, acquiring Tbk (Bentoel), Indonesia's fourth-largest cigarette maker, in June for 303 million pounds.

Reference: British American Tobacco H1 profit up 16 pct, Associated Press _ Miami Herald, 7/30/2009.