- Tobacco giant Imperial Brands said it expected first-half organic profit to grow by at least a mid-single digit rate, amid rising tobacco prices and improved performance in next generation products including vaping.

Revenue was expected to grow by at least 1% on an organic, constant currency basis, driven by continued 'strong pricing in tobacco, as well as some benefit from growth in NGP revenues against a weak comparator period,' it added.

In tobacco, the company said it has begun to achieve aggregate market share growth in five priority markets with gains in US, UK and Spain more than offsetting declines in Germany and Australia.

Tobacco operating profit, however, has been impacted by a lower duty windfall in Australia and the impact of US trade inventories following the higher wholesaler purchases in March 2020 to meet COVID-19 pantry loading demand, the company said.

Looking further ahead, the company forecast full-year adjusted operating profit to be in line with guidance for low-mid single digit organic growth at constant currency.

'Overall tobacco volumes is in line with expectations, although COVID-19 continues to affect consumer buying patterns across different channels and markets,' the company said.

The interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2021 will be announced on 18 May 2021, it added.

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