Cigarette manufacturer, British American Tobacco (BAT) posted a 18% increase in after tax profit to US$31,4 million in the year ended December 31, 2018 from US$26,7 million in the previous year driven by an increase in sales of 16% and improved operational efficiencies.

The group’s revenue was up 16% to US$42,7 million from US$36,8 million in 2017 backed by strong sales performance and an improvement in the sales mix.

“The company’s Low Value for Money Brand, Ascot, grew by 171% driven by robust trade activation, with the Value for Money Segment (Madison and Everest) recording a 10% growth driven by Everest, which grew by 35%,” group chairman, Lovemore Manatsa said in a statement accompanying the financials.

Other income increased by 19% from US$2,5 million to US$2,94 million due to foreign exchange gains on liabilities.

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The group’s administrative expenses fell 5% to US$6,95 million due to saving initiatives coupled with the benefits of restructuring activities implemented in previous years, which offset the impact of increasing inflation in the last quarter of the year.

Selling and marketing costs increased 3% to US$4,99 million from US$4,86 million in the prior year.

Cash generated from operations was US$17,1 million, a 22% increase from US$14 million generated in 2017 driven by an increase in profit offset by higher inventories and debtors.
The company’s total assets increased to US$51,44 million from a comparative US$37,9 million in 2017.

The company expects trading conditions to remain challenging as the country continues to strive for economic stability, but the group remains confident that its strategies remain appropriate and their brand portfolio is consumer relevant.

BAT’s major shareholders include BAT International Holdings (UK), Old Mutual Life Assurance Company Zimbabwe Limited, BAT Zimbabwe Tobacco Empowerment trust and BAT Zimbabwe Employee Share Ownership Trust.