Imperial Tobacco Group expects full-year earnings

Imperial Tobacco Group PLC, which makes Lambert & Butler and Embassy cigarettes, said Tuesday it expects full-year earnings to meet its forecasts after the company cut costs and won market share.

The company, which also makes Davidoff and West cigarettes, did not provide specific financial figures.

"We have again increased our cigarette volumes year on year, further building on our good organic growth in the previous 18 months," said Chief Executive Gareth Davis.

Duty-paid cigarette volumes in the U.K. have remained stable year on year and fine cut tobacco volumes have increased, although the company estimates the annual duty-paid cigarette market may shrink by up to 4 percent in the current financial year once a nationwide ban on smoking in public places is introduced.

In the rest of the world, cigarette volumes grew, notably in Central Europe, the AP reports.

Earlier this month, Imperial Tobacco bought 66 percent stake in the Estonian distribution company, Tremaco, and the trademark rights to three cigarette brands.

The shares dipped 0.8 percent to 2,107 pence (US$41.27; EUR 31.94) in London.

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