British American Tobacco plc Reports A Strong Full-Year Performance

british american tobacco / imperial tobaccoThe share price of British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS) (NYSE: BTI.US) is currently up almost 0.5%, following the publication of its final results for the year to 31 December 2013.

Operating profit was up 3% (7% at constant rates), on group revenue that, whilst flat at current rates, grew 4% at constant rates of exchange. The company attributed the growth primarily to “continued good pricing”. 

The decline in overall volumes continues, with group cigarette volume falling 2.7%, to was 676 billion, and total tobacco volume dropping 2.6%.

However, within the decline, BAT’s international brands managed a 2.1% increase in volume, with the “Global Drive” brands segment increasing by 1.9%, and the company said that its cigarette market share continued to increase in its key markets.

Basic earnings per share increased 5%, to 205.4p, and the the Board has recommended a final dividend of 97.4p, which takes the full-year dividend for 2013 to 142.4p per share, an increase of 6% over the previous year.

The board is proposing a £1.5bn share buy-back programme for 2014, adding to the £1.5 bn (excluding costs) spent buying back 44 million shares in 2013.

Commenting on the results, chairman Richard Burrows said:

British American Tobacco continued to perform strongly in 2013, with another year of excellent earnings growth and cash flow, partially offset by currency headwinds. The Group’s Global Drive Brands also achieved outstanding growth in market share and volume. Difficult trading conditions persist in some parts of the world, notably southern Europe, but these results demonstrate that the Group’s strategy continues to deliver robust profit and dividend growth.

 At 3,204p, BAT’s share price is down almost 6% on this time last year, compared with a 7% rise in the FTSE 100. And even over five years,  BAT’s share price is only just beating the FTSE 100, recording a 79% gain, versus 77% for the index.

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> Jon doesn't own shares in British American Tobacco.