Can British American Tobacco (BAT) still be weighed up as a long-term habit? The share arguably offers smouldering value at current levels, which are about 15% down from the R942 high in November last year. By traditional investor metrics BAT appears to offer robust value; it’s on a trailing earnings multiple of about six and offers a yield from dividends (which are now conveniently paid every quarter). Regulatory challenges, health issues and increasingly vehement social resistance to smoking perhaps justify BAT’s modest stock-market rating. This may work for investors wanting a three-to five-year fix — especially in prevailing market volatility. At the recent investor presentation for interim results to end-June, BAT CEO Nicandro Durante was soothingly optimistic about medium-term prospects. He predicted another "good" financial year of adjusted earnings growth at constant exchange rates. Durante noted the cigarettes and tobacco heated products (THP) portfolio had (again) outperfo...

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