The reported Group profit from operations was 11 per cent higher at £2,905 million or 7 per cent higher if exceptional items, as explained in the Financial review, are excluded. However, profit from operations at comparable rates of exchange and excluding exceptional items, would have been 11 per cent higher, with all regions contributing to this strong result.
Group volumes from subsidiaries were 684 billion, a decrease of 1 per cent, mainly as a result of the high level of trade buying in some markets at the end of 2006, supply chain disruptions in the Middle East and the loss of StiX in Germany.
Group revenue increased by 3 per cent to £10,018 million but, at comparable rates of exchange, would have increased by 5 per cent as a result of favourable pricing and improved product mix.
The four Global Drive Brands continued their good performance and achieved an overall volume growth of 10 per cent, with a particularly strong performance in the second half of the year. The good performance of the Global Drive Brands led to share improvements in many markets.
Kent grew by 19 per cent, with excellent growth in Russia, Romania, Ukraine and Chile, while volumes were maintained in a reduced Japanese market. It also benefited from significant volume increases from the brand migrations in Western Europe and new markets in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
Dunhill rose by 6 per cent, driven by strong performances in South Korea, Russia, Italy, South Africa and Saudi Arabia, although volumes were in line with last year in Malaysia and lower in Taiwan and Australia.
Lucky Strike volumes were slightly up as the growth in Spain, Italy, France, Argentina and Brazil was almost offset by declines as a result of lower industry volumes in Germany and Japan.
Despite the absence of Pall Mall StiX in Germany during 2007, Pall Mall continued its growth with an increase of 10 per cent, driven by Italy, Hungary, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Taiwan, partly offset by lower volumes in Germany, Romania, Spain, Greece and Malaysia.