Despite government efforts to curb smoking, British American Tobacco (BAT) increased the number of cigarettes it sold in 2016 slightly to 665-billion. Though only 0.2% more than in 2015, BAT said it achieved this while the overall cigarette market suffered a 3% decline in volumes. BAT shareholders will receive a final dividend of 118.1p, taking the total for 2016 to 169.4p, a 10% increase from the previous year. But shareholders appeared to disagree with chairperson Richard Burrows’s comment that "the group delivered exceptional earnings, volume and market share growth", by sending its share price down 1.6% to R801, after the results were released on Thursday morning. The group’s overall revenue grew 12.6% to £14.75bn and operating profit 2.2% to £4.66bn. In Australia — the country at the forefront of forcing cigarette companies to sell their products in plain packaging — BAT said its "market share returned to growth, driven by Rothmans". Rothmans appears to be the group’s best-perf...

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