LONDON -- British American Tobacco (ISE: BATS.L) (NYS: BTI) has gained 4% to 3,165 pence so far during 2012, making the share one of this year's more reliable performers in the FTSE 100. During the same time, the blue chip index has gained 5% and generated a total return of 9%.
The world's second-largest tobacco company, which operates in more than 180 countries, has proven to be quite resilient in the face of a challenging trading environment where industry sales are under pressure.
In February, British American Tobacco's results for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2011, reported a successful year for the company. The group's adjusted operating profits, underlying earnings per share, and total dividend for the year were all up by 11%.
Then in April, the group reported an increase in volumes for the first three months of 2012. At the time, Nicandro Durante, BAT's chief executive, said: "We have grown volumes and Global Drive Brands and have achieved good growth in revenue, with continued pricing momentum, although currency headwinds have adversely affected results. It is a strong start to another year of anticipated good earnings growth."
In July, BAT lifted its first-half dividend by 11%; however, sales were flat at 7.4 billion pounds within its half-year report.
More recently, the group reported its third-quarter update. Underlying sales improved 4% during the first nine months of the year, and its four Global Drive Brands achieved overall volume growth of 3%.
BAT currently pays a dividend of 131 pence per share and yields around 4%.
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