BAT raises sales growth outlook as more smokers switch to less harmful products By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Lucky Strike cigarettes are seen during the manufacturing process in the British American Tobacco Cigarette Factory (BAT) in Bayreuth, Germany, April 30, 2014. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo

(Reuters) -British American Tobacco on Tuesday raised its annual revenue growth forecast to more than 5% at constant currency as the cigarette maker’s focus on newer products like e-cigarettes and tobacco-heating devices pays off.

The company had previously forecast revenue growth in the range of 3% to 5%. It, however, kept unchanged its growth expectation for adjusted earnings per share in the mid-single digit range.

The maker of Lucky Strike and Newport cigarettes said the raised forecast comes as “new category” products had gained shares in all key markets, including the United States where menthol cigarettes and flavoured cigars are facing a possible ban.

The company also said it expects its full-year cigarette volumes to be ahead of the total industry, which it expects will be down about 3% this year.

It said 1.4 million more consumers started using its new category products – e-cigarettes, tobacco heating and oral nicotine products – in the first quarter, bringing its total non-combustible user base to 14.9 million.

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