LISTED tobacco processor, British American Tobacco Zimbabwe (BAT), reported today that net profit rose to US$13,5 million in the year ending December 31, 2014 from US$3,7 million a year ago as volumes climbed 4 percent in the period.

\n\nBAT Finance Director Peter Doona presenting the group's financials - Picture by Kudakwashe Hunda\nShareholders and economists follow proceedings\nAn employee shows off BAT brands\nBAT managing director Lovemore Manatsa  and finance director Peter Doona at the financial results presentation\n\n

Revenues were however flat US$44,5 million as the local economic environment continued to be unfavourable.

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For manufactured cigarettes, the group’s core business, revenues grew 6 percent compared to the prior year.

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Gross profit was 4,4 percent weaker at US$28,8 million from US$30 million posted a year ago on high packaging costs that were occasioned by a growth in sales of its 10s-format brand, salaries, high utility charges, plant refurbishments and other maintenance costs on manufacturing equipment.

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The value of total assets fell to US$27,6 million against US$30,5 million for the prior year. Basic earnings per share firmed to 65c from 18c.

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BAT managing director Mr Lovemore Manatsa said the group expects to continue strengthening its brands and distribution channels especially in high density areas.

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“Our sales people are now using bicycles and motor cycles instead of a huge trucks for distribution; this method is faster and cost effective,” he said.

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Mr Manatsa also indicated this year’s tobacco selling season may record lower volumes compared to last year as a result of weather-induced damages to the golden leaf.

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In Mvurwi, for instance, tobacco was severely damaged by hailstorms at the start of the year.

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Today, Friday 20 February, no trades were recorded in BAT, which is the ZSE’s most expensive stock at over US$11,14 and a market capitalisation of US$237 million.

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The group declared a dividend of US$0,50 a share.

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