Imperial Tobacco Group - Interim Management Statement..

February 3, 2010 - Imperial Tobacco Group plc is the world's fourth largest international tobacco company, Number one in Britain with a market share of approximately 46% and Number 2 in Europe.

Imperial Tobacco Group Plc : said it made a “good start” to the
financial year to 30 September 2010. Business has been “in line” with company expectations, despite the weak economic climate, Chief Executive Officer Gareth Davis said.

Imperial Tobacco Group PLC Interim Management Statement, February 2, 2010.

Imperial Tobacco Group Plc, the maker of West and JPS cigarettes, said sales this fiscal year are meeting its expectations as the French and U.K. markets expand. France consumed 55 billion cigarettes in 2009, 3 percent more than the prior year, while the U.K. duty-paid cigarette market expanded 1 percent to 45.5 billion, the Bristol, England- based company said today in a
Regulatory News Service statement.

“We have made a good start to the year with trading in line with our expectations despite the weak economic environment,” Chief Executive Officer Gareth Davis said in the statement. Imperial has raised prices in the U.K., Spain and France since the end of its fiscal year in September, he added.

The amount of cigarettes sold in Germany declined 2 percent to 85.5 billion in the 12 months through December, and Spanish volumes dropped 10 percent, the company said. Altria Group Inc., the largest U.S. tobacco company, last week said cigarette shipments fell 11 percent in the fourth quarter.

Davis will be succeeded by Alison Cooper when he steps down in May 2010, the company said in November 2009. Under Davis, Imperial bought Altadis SA, the Spanish maker of the Gauloises brand, and Commonwealth Brands, the fourth-largest U.S. cigarette maker.

The company said today it reached a “framework agreement” for its U.S. cigar business to cooperate with China Tobacco Chuanyu Industrial Corp., without giving any further details.

Reference: Imperial Tobacco Says French, U.K. Cigarette Markets Expanded by Tom Mulier (,, 2/2/2010.