Nicandro Durante comments on our performance in 2016
The Group delivered a great set of results in 2016, with excellent growth seen across all key business metrics. This was achieved despite a challenging backdrop of adverse foreign exchange rates impacting our cost base and ongoing pressure on consumers’ disposable income in many of our Key Markets.
Group revenue was up by 6.9% at constant rates of exchange, driven by good pricing - with price mix exceeding 6%. Reported revenue was 12.6% higher, reflecting the translational tailwind resulting from the relative weakness of sterling. On an organic basis, Group revenue was up by 5.3% at constant rates.
At constant rates of exchange, adjusted profit from operations grew by 4.1% and adjusted diluted earnings per share grew by 10.4%. Adjusted profit from operations would have grown by approximately 10% were it not for the significant ongoing effect of adverse foreign exchange movements on our cost base during 2016. Underlying operating margin, excluding transactional foreign exchange and acquisitions, grew by around 160 bps. On a reported basis, it was down by 90 bps to 37.2%.
I am very pleased that we reached an agreement with the Board of Reynolds American in relation to the acquisition of the remaining 57.8% of Reynolds American that the Group does not currently own. This is a significant step towards the completion of this transaction and we look forward to putting the recommended offer to shareholders.
Strategically, this deal will create a truly global business with a world class portfolio of tobacco and Next Generation Products which will be available across the most attractive markets in the world. Financially, it will be earnings accretive with enhanced cash generation while maintaining a solid investment grade credit rating. We expect the transaction to close during the third quarter of 2017, subject to obtaining the relevant shareholder and regulatory approvals.
Total Group cigarette volume for the full year was up 0.2%, to 665 billion. A 0.8% decline on an organic basis was considerably better than the industry, which we estimate to be down around 3.0%.
Strong growth in 2016, with overall market share in our Key Markets increasing by 50 bps, was driven by the continuing momentum of our Global Drive Brands (GDBs). Total volume growth across the GDBs was an outstanding 7.5% and total market share growth was 100 bps. The GDBs now account for 49% of Group cigarette volume, up from 32% in 2011, demonstrating the key role they play in our growth strategy.
In 2016, we made significant progress with our differentiated strategy of developing and marketing a range of outstanding next generation tobacco and nicotine products, across both the Vapour and Tobacco Heating categories. Our Vapour Products business continues to perform very well and, following the geographic expansion of Vype™ in 2016, we are now present in ten markets and have the largest vapour business in the world outside of the US.
In the UK, our category retail share, as independently measured by AC Nielsen, has reached nearly 40% through the growth of Vype™ and the acquisition of Ten Motives. We also have an estimated market share of around 50% in Poland as well as category retail share of over 7% in Germany, over 4% in France and over 2% in Italy. In addition, we launched a new vaping concept in Europe called the Vype Pebble™ which we believe will enhance the overall category and increase consumer penetration.
In December 2016, we launched a new-to-world Tobacco Heating Product, called glo™, in Sendai, Japan. Initial results are very encouraging, with glo™ gaining 5.4% volume share in a leading convenience store chain in Sendai after only ten weeks. Further roll-out and product upgrades are scheduled for 2017 and beyond.
These innovations, alongside our exciting pipeline, demonstrate our commitment to meeting all of the differing preferences of our consumers, providing them with a choice of outstanding products across the risk continuum.
As these results demonstrate, our combustible tobacco business continues to perform extremely well and I am very pleased with the progress we are making in Next Generation Products. Both would be made stronger by our proposed acquisition of Reynolds American, creating what will become a truly global tobacco and Next Generation Products company, delivering sustained long-term profit growth and returns.
22 February 2017
Forward looking statements
Certain statements in this communication regarding the proposed merger of Reynolds American and BAT (the “Proposed Transaction”), the expected timetable for completing the Proposed Transaction, the benefits and synergies of the Proposed Transaction, future opportunities for the combined company and any other statements regarding BAT’s, Reynolds American’s or the combined company’s future expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, financial conditions, assumptions or future events or performance that are not historical facts are “forward-looking” statements made within the meaning of Section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements are often, but not always, made through the use of words or phrases such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “could,” “may,” “would,” “should,” “intend,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “will,” “expect,” “estimate,” “project,” “positioned,” “strategy,” “outlook” and similar expressions. All such forward-looking statements involve estimates and assumptions that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual future financial condition, performance and results to differ materially from the plans, goals, expectations and results expressed in the forward-looking statements and other financial and/or statistical data within this communication. Among the key factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements are uncertainties related to the following: whether the conditions to the Proposed Transaction will be satisfied and the Proposed Transaction will be completed on the anticipated timeframe, or at all; the failure to realize contemplated synergies and other benefits from the Proposed Transaction; the incurrence of significant costs and the availability and cost of financing in connection with the Proposed Transaction; the effect of the announcement of the Proposed Transaction, and related uncertainties as to whether the Proposed Transaction will be completed, on BAT’s, Reynolds American’s or the combined company’s ability to retain customers, retain and hire key personnel and maintain relationships with suppliers and on their operating results and businesses generally; the ability to maintain credit ratings; changes in the tobacco industry and stock market trading conditions; changes or differences in domestic or international economic or political conditions; changes in tax laws and rates; the impact of adverse legislation and regulation; the ability to develop, produce or market new alternative products profitably; the ability to effectively implement strategic initiatives and actions taken to increase sales growth; the ability to enhance cash generation and pay dividends; adverse litigation and dispute outcomes; and changes in the market position, businesses, financial condition, results of operations or prospects of BAT, Reynolds American or the combined company.
Additional information concerning these and other factors can be found in Reynolds American’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including Reynolds American’s most recent Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K and BAT’s Annual Reports, which may be obtained free of charge from BAT’s website www.BAT.com. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date hereof and BAT undertakes no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements or other data or statements contained within this communication, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
No statement in this communication is intended to be a profit forecast and no statement in this communication should be interpreted to mean that earnings per share of BAT or Reynolds American for the current or future financial years would necessarily match or exceed the historical published earnings per share of BAT or Reynolds American, respectively.
Additional information and where to find it
This communication is neither a solicitation of a proxy nor a substitute for any proxy statement or other filings that may be made with the SEC in connection with the Proposed Transaction. Any solicitation will only be made through materials filed with the SEC. Nonetheless, this communication may be deemed to be solicitation material in respect of the Proposed Transaction by BAT.
BAT intends to file relevant materials with the SEC, including a registration statement on Form F-4 that will include a proxy statement of Reynolds American that also constitutes a prospectus of BAT. Investors and security holders are urged to read all relevant documents filed with the SEC (if and when they become available), including the proxy statement/prospectus, because they will contain important information about the Proposed Transaction. Investors and security holders will be able to obtain the documents (if and when available) free of charge at the SEC’s website, http://www.sec.gov , or for free from BAT at email@example.com / +44 (0) 20 7845 1000. Such documents are not currently available.
Participants in solicitation
This communication is neither a solicitation of a proxy nor a substitute for any proxy statement or other filings that may be made with the SEC in connection with the Proposed Transaction. Nonetheless, BAT, and its affiliates and each of their directors and executive officers and certain employees may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the holders of Reynolds American common stock with respect to the Proposed Transaction. Information about such parties and a description of their interests are set forth in BAT’s 2015 Annual Report, which may be obtained free of charge from BAT’s website www.bat.com and the proxy statement for Reynolds American’s 2016 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on March 23, 2016, Reynolds American’s annual report for the year ended December 31, 2016, which was filed on Form 10-K with the SEC on February 9, 2017 and Reynolds American’s Form 10-K/A, which is to be filed with the SEC on or before May 1, 2017 (such filings by Reynolds American, collectively, “Reynolds SEC filings”). To the extent holdings of Reynolds American securities by such parties have changed since the amounts contained in the Reynolds SEC filings, such changes have been or will be reflected on Statements of Change in Ownership on Form 4 filed with the SEC. Additional information regarding the interest of such parties will also be included in the materials that BAT intends to file with the SEC in connection with the Proposed Transaction. These documents (if and when available) may be obtained free of charge from the SEC’s website http://www.sec.gov , or from BAT using the contact information above.
This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.
This communication should not be construed as investment advice and is not intended to form the basis of any investment decision, nor does it form the basis of any contract for acquisition or investment in any member of the BAT group, financial promotion or any offer, invitation or recommendation in relation to any acquisition of, or investment in, any member of the BAT group.