Imperial Brands

Ticker IMB

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As of 05:20 22 Sep 2019
Market cap. Pound sterling
20,363.97 million
As of 05:20 22 Sep 2019

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Imperial shakes up dividend policy

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Tobacco giant Imperial Brands has announced a shake-up to its dividend policy and a £200 million share buyback.

The firm, maker of Gauloises cigarettes, will abandon its annual 10% increase from next year and instead adopt a progressive policy that takes into account the underlying performance of the business.

Imperial's board said the change "recognises the company's continued strong cash generation and the importance of growing dividends for shareholders, while providing greater flexibility in capital allocation".

Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "All this makes sense, a double-digit dividend yield is more than any investor needs or can reasonably expect in the current climate, and throwing more money at shareholders has failed to make the shares more attractive.

Imperial Brands' shares are leading the FTSE 100 risers today: they're up 2.23%.

Imperial Brands shares fall

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Imperial Brands - maker of Gauloises cigarettes - says its expectations for full year revenue, earnings and cash generation are unchanged.

It expects to deliver constant currency revenue growth at, or above, the upper end of its 1-4% revenue growth range.

The company stuck by its targets after reporting a 38% rise in operating profits to £1.1bn.

Revenue rose 2.5% on a constant currency basis to £3.6bn.

Its so-called NGPs - Next Generation Products such as myblu - reported a rise in revenue but tobacco volume was down 6.9%.

The shares have fallen 1.5% in early trading.

Imperial Brands boosting vaper investment

A man smoking an e-cigarette
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Imperial Brands has issued a trading statement saying that it is on track to meet revenue and earnings expectations for the full year.

The tobacco giant said it was continuing to deliver modest revenue growth in tobacco products, despite divesting several product lines in 2018.

However, the profits had been offset by the £100m it had invested in blu, its vaping product line.

The firm said it had significant year-on-year revenue growth, despite market uncertainty about the potential harm posed by e-cigarettes.

Worth the money?

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Cigarette smoke
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Over the last five years, Imperial Brands chief executive Alison Cooper has been paid a total £18m according to the cigarette-maker's annual report.

Today business presenter Dominic O'Connell posits: "That's quite a lot of money for selling something that shortens people's lives."

Ms Cooper says: "It is a legal product. We are a plc. We manage a legal product very responsibly, recognising the controversies around it and it is commensurate with running a business of this size."

'Controversial' but people still like smoking

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

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Tobacco firm Imperial Brands has reported flat full-year sales at £30.5bn and profits at £1.8bn as cigarette volumes dip and vaping grows.

Imperial's chief executive Alison Cooper tells the Today programme: "At Imperial, we are looking to offer something better for smokers and in particular our e-cigarette portfolio and Blu is a very interesting and successful offering, helping smokers to switch."

So why not stop making cigarettes?

She says: "In terms of the current cigarette-smoking population, many of them very much enjoy smoking. We know it is a controversial product but therefore it is even more important that responsible companies continue to deliver that product to smokers."

Smoking out the share winners


Are there any winners in the FTSE 100 today? There are a few, led by British American Tobacco, which has climbed 4.12% to 3,501.50.

Meanwhile Imperial Brands is up 3.66% at 2,705 and the only other share climbing more than 3% is Fresnillo, up 3.17% at 924.40.

Better day for UK shares

London Stock Exchange
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DCC, the FTSE 100 sales and marketing group, is leading the blue chip risers on Friday morning, with its share price up 2.97% to £64.15.

Tobacco business Imperial Brands is the largest faller so far, down 1% £26.52.

The wider FTSE 100 is up 0.47% at 7,040.15.

A third quarter update from hedge fund giant Man Group sent its shares up 5.84% to 152.78p on the FTSE 250.

The FTSE 250 is up 0.89% at 18,996.05.

Imperial Brands wants smokers to switch

smoker with e-cigarette

Imperial Brands - the tobacco company which makes Gauloises, Kool and Winston cigarettes - is hosting an event for investors at which it plans to launch a new product called Pulze, a heated tobacco product.

"At the heart of our strategy is a desire to create something better for the world's smokers. We want smokers to switch to alternative products with lower health risks," the company said.

It also revealed plans to launch Nixx - a tobacco-infused e-cigarette.

Earlier this year it launched myblu - which it said had "strong sales" - and has also invested in UK biotech company Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCT).

Imperial Brands takes stake in medical cannabis firm

Cannabis leaf
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Tobacco company Imperial Brands is investing in biotech firm Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCT).

The maker of Gauloises and Winston cigarettes says its subsidiary, Imperial Brands Ventures, is taking an equity stake in OCT.

The move comes as big tobacco firms take steps away from a shrinking market.

Sir Patrick Stewart
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Sir Patrick Stewart

In the same statement, OCT announced that Sir Patrick Stewart has become a patron.