Marc Hasenfuss Editor-at-large

Cigarette giant British American Tobacco (BAT) failed to ignite market sentiment on Thursday despite dividends for the year to end-December increasing 15% to £1.95 a share and a blazing outlook for the group’s new products for smokers. BAT shares weakened 5.86% to R683.90 in intraday trade before recovering to close 4.31% down at R695.22. Market watchers said there was nothing in particular in the results to spook the market, other than perhaps a perception that bottom line might have been slightly short of expectations. Revenue for the year was up 38% to £20.3bn after the acquisition of Reynolds America, with earnings about 10% higher at £2.84 a share. BAT CEO Nicandro Durante said BAT’s investments were coming to fruition and the company boasted a range of new-era products in the “reduced-risk categories”, such as vapour, tobacco-heated products, oral tobacco, tobacco-free nicotine pouches and moist snuff. BAT was confident of leading the new-generation products category, he said,...

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