BRITISH American Tobacco (M) Bhd (BAT) posted an unaudited pre-tax
profit of RM229.1mil for the 1st quarter ended March 31, 2002, up 2%
from a similar period in 2001.
BAT said that turnover amounted to RM769.8mil compared with RM-782.9mil a year
ago, the decrease due to lower duty-free and contracting volumes. This was offset by
domestic price increases for cigarettes following the federal budget last year.
"Our improved pre-tax profit performance is due to better domestic margins, which
more than offset the lower duty free and contract manufacturing volumes,'' BAT
managing director Stuart Watterton said.
Net profit was RM165mil compared with RM160mil in the same period last year,
lifting earnings per share to 57.8 sen from 56.2 sen.
Dunhill, the company's leading brand, continued its steady growth in
the local market, its volumes increasing marginally from the same period last year. Other brands
Kent, Benson & Hedges and Peter Stuyvesant performed satisfactorily.
BAT said the market acceptance of its value-for-money brand Perilly's was
encouraging following its re-launch in January.
The company said, currently, underlying domestic industry market volumes were
slightly down compared with the same period last year.
Watterton reiterated the seriousness of the illegal cigarette problem in Malaysia.
He said the company's full year volumes were dependent on the level of unauthorised
products entering the country, tax increases and the economic recovery.