Chief Executive’s review of our preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2017

Transformational deal marks a record year

The Group delivered another set of strong financial results in 2017, despite a challenging trading environment. Following the transformational deal in July 2017, these results benefit from the acquisition of RAI while also demonstrating the strength of the organic business.

The Group has delivered outstanding returns to shareholders for many years. We recognise that the tobacco and nicotine industry has entered a dynamic period of change. Increased public health awareness, new societal attitudes and rapid developments in new technologies have all combined to create a unique opportunity to accelerate the delivery of our long-held ambition to provide our consumers with less risky tobacco and nicotine choices.

Since 2012, together with RAI, we have invested approximately US$2.5 billion in the growth of our Next Generation Product (NGP) business – comprising vapour and tobacco heating products (THPs).  Following the acquisition of RAI, not only have we become the world’s leading vapour company, we have also significantly increased the size of our existing oral tobacco and nicotine business with the addition of leading snus and moist snuff brands in the US. Collectively, we refer to these products as our potentially reduced-risk products.

Our investments are now coming to fruition and, recognising that not all consumers are the same, we now have an unrivalled range of exciting and innovative products across the potentially reduced-risk categories – including vapour, THPs, oral tobacco, tobacco-free nicotine pouches and moist snuff. With the increased size and scale coming from RAI, we are clear leaders in the potentially reduced-risk product space and we are confident of leading the NGP category. This year we generated revenue from NGP of £397 million. On a full year basis including the contribution from RAI, this would have been approximately £500 million and we expect this to double in 2018 to £1 billion, rising to more than £5 billion in 2022.

New Strategic Portfolio of brands

In light of the evolution of the business, with the addition of leading brands in the US, as well as the growing importance and progress of our potentially reduced-risk products, we have taken the opportunity to establish a new portfolio of priority brands – which we will in future refer to as our Strategic Portfolio.

This Strategic Portfolio comprises our existing GDBs, combined with RAI’s Strategic Brands (Camel, Newport and Natural American Spirit). Also included is our portfolio of potentially reduced-risk products, including our key oral tobacco brands and NGP brands in vapour and THP. Further details can be found on page 29 of the full announcement.

From 2018, the Group will introduce a new metric called Revenue Growth of our Strategic Portfolio, replacing the Global Drive Brand (GDB) & Key Strategic Brand (KSB) volume growth metric. To provide the comparator against which 2018 will be measured, Revenue of our Strategic Portfolio in 2017 would have been £16,711 million assuming we had consolidated RAI for a full 12 months and after recognising the impact of implementing the new accounting requirements of IFRS 15.

Strong results across our portfolio of products

Notwithstanding the good progress we are making with our potentially reduced-risk products, combustible cigarette products remain at the core of our business - delivering growth today and providing the funds required for investing in the future. I am therefore pleased that 2017 saw the Group yet again deliver another good performance.

The Group’s cigarette market share in its Key Markets continued to grow strongly (up 40 bps). This was powered by another excellent performance by our GDBs, which grew 110 bps (ex US) and now account for more than 50% of Group cigarette and THP volume outside the US. Over the year, market share in the US also grew strongly and was up 20 bps, with the RAI Strategic Brands growing 40 bps.

Total Group cigarette and THP volume grew 3.2% to 686 billion or, on an organic basis fell 2.6%, outperforming the industry which was estimated to have declined by around 3.5%.

In 2017, we also made excellent progress with our NGP business. Our flagship THP, glo, first launched in Japan in December 2016, reached 3.6% market share by the end of 2017 – having been rolled out nationally from October 2017. Since then, 50% of the overall category growth in Japan has been from glo – demonstrating its strong consumer appeal in a very short period. Good initial progress is also being made in our other launch markets of South Korea, Russia, Canada, Romania and Switzerland.

In the vapour category, Vype is now present in 9 markets1 and we remain market leader in the UK, with Vype and Ten Motives combined delivering around 40% share of measured retail in December 2017. We also lead the vapour category in Poland. In the US, the Vuse range of products continues to have a significant presence in the market. We see the rapidly developing vapour category, as a whole, contributing significantly to our long-term growth ambitions in NGPs.

The Group’s financial performance was positively impacted by the accounting for the acquisition of RAI and the subsequent US tax reforms. These drove diluted earnings per share up by over 600% to 1,830.0p. However, while trading conditions remain challenging in a number of markets, including ad hoc excise increases and increasing illicit consumption, 2017 again saw the Group deliver on its high single-digit earnings growth commitment on an adjusted basis, increasing adjusted diluted earnings per share by 14.9% to 284.4p, or 9.9% at constant rates of exchange.

Continued confidence in future growth

The Group’s results in 2017 are testament to our commitment to delivering strong results for shareholders whilst at the same time investing substantially in the long-term future of the business. Following our acquisition of RAI, and the progress we are making with NGPs, we can now accelerate our ambition to transform tobacco. With the right people, products and strategy we are ideally positioned to deliver greater choice for our consumers, potential benefits for society as a whole and long-term sustainable value for shareholders.

Nicandro Durante
21 February 2018

Forward looking statements

This announcement contains certain forward-looking statements, including “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”, “target” and similar expressions. These include statements regarding our intentions, beliefs or current expectations concerning, amongst other things, our results of operations, financial condition, liquidity, prospects, growth, strategies and the economic and business circumstances occurring from time to time in the countries and markets in which the Group operates.

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: the impact of competition from illicit trade; the impact of adverse domestic or international legislation and regulation; changes in domestic or international tax laws and rates; adverse litigation and dispute outcomes and the effect of such outcomes on the Group’s financial condition; changes or differences in domestic or international economic or political conditions; the inability to obtain price increases and the impact of price increases on consumer affordability thresholds; adverse decisions by domestic or international regulatory bodies; the impact of market size reduction and consumer down-trading; translational and transactional foreign exchange rate exposure; the impact of serious injury, illness or death in the workplace; the ability to maintain credit ratings and to fund the business under the current capital structure; the ability to develop and commercialise new alternative products and to do so profitably; and changes in the market position, businesses, financial condition, results of operations or prospects of the Group.

It is believed that the expectations reflected in this announcement are reasonable but they may be affected by a wide range of variables that could cause actual results to differ materially from those currently anticipated. Past performance is no guide to future performance and persons needing advice should consult an independent financial adviser. The forward-looking statements reflect knowledge and information available at the date of preparation of this announcement and the Group undertakes no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.

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 for the current or future financial years would necessarily match or exceed the historical published earnings per share of BAT.

Additional information concerning these and other factors can be found in BAT’s and Reynolds American Inc.’s (“RAI”) filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including RAI’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 registration statement on Form F-4, which was declared effective by the SEC on June 14, 2017, and Current Reports on Form 6-K, which may be obtained free of charge at the SEC’s website, http://www.sec.gov, and BAT’s Annual Reports, which may be obtained free of charge from BAT’s website www.bat.com.

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