Imperial Tobacco shares slide on slowing growth

Cigarettes The economic downturn in Spain has hit Imperial Tobacco

Shares in cigarette firm Imperial Tobacco fell by close to 3% after the firm said revenue growth would slow.

It said revenues in the six months to the end of March were expected to grow by just 2%, after a 5% rise in the last three months of 2010.

The firm's cigarette brands include Lambert & Butler, West and Gauloises.

In the 2011 UK Budget, tobacco duty was increased by inflation plus 2%, pushing the price of a 20-pack of cigarettes to as much as £7.

Spanish issues

Imperial Tobacco Group

Last Updated at 21 Oct 2014, 11:36 ET *Chart shows local time Imperial Tobacco Group intraday chart
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In early morning trading Imperial was the biggest faller on the FTSE, down 2.97% at 1865 pence.

Part of the slowdown in sales growth was due to a changing market in Spain.

The firm said Spain had continued to be a tough market due to a rise in tobacco duty in December, a ban on smoking in public places at the beginning of 2011, and the continued weakness of the economy.

Imperial, which makes over 300 billion cigarettes a year, said its global cigarette volumes had declined 1% in the past half year.

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