Cigarette company British American Tobacco (BAT) is confident of good earnings growth in the financial year to end-December on a constant currency basis. In a pre-closed period trading update released on Wednesday, BAT directors said the business continued to perform well and that trading was in line with expectations. In a regional market overview, BAT said Canada, Germany, Romania, Bangladesh and Ukraine performed well, but conditions remained challenging in SA, Russia, the Middle East, Brazil and Malaysia. The group indicated that further market share growth was driven by the global drive brands, which include Kent, Rothmans, Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall. Directors noted organic operating profit growth in the second half of the financial year reflected the benefit of the phasing of volume shipments in a number of key markets, including Pakistan. But this was offset by a more difficult pricing environment — including excise tax hikes — in some markets. BAT expected full-yea...

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