2020 Second Half Pre-close Trading Update
09 December 2020
Trading update - ahead of closed period commencing 1st January 2021.
Jack Bowles, Chief Executive:
“We are transforming our business in order to build A Better Tomorrow. Reducing the health impact of our business through providing a range of enjoyable and less risky products is the greatest contribution we can make to society. We continue to be clear that combustible cigarettes pose serious health risks, and the only way to avoid these risks is not to start or to quit. BAT encourages those who would otherwise continue to smoke to switch completely to scientifically substantiated reduced risk alternatives. We are growing our New Category business as fast as possible and we are proud to now have around 13 million non-combustible product consumers. We are continuing to increase investment in our three New Categories of potentially reduced risk cigarette alternatives, capitalising on our momentum, while continuing to deliver on our financial commitments.
"Throughout 2020, our priority has been the health and wellbeing of our employees. COVID-19 has made this a difficult year for everyone, and I am proud of the continued commitment and dedication of our people around the world. It is their hard work that has ensured we are on track to deliver a strong set of results in 2020, given this backdrop.
"We are confident about the future for BAT and are committed to our 2025 New Category revenue ambition of £5bn.
"While the environment remains uncertain, due to the continuing challenges of COVID-19, the business is performing strongly.”
We are delivering on our three strategic priorities. We are growing share1 in the New Categories, with further increasing investment in H2, fuelled by continued strong value growth in combustibles and the benefits of becoming a faster, simpler, more agile business through Project Quantum. As a result, we are maintaining 2020 guidance, while providing the following detail:
Performance highlights are expected to include:
Applying current foreign exchange spot rates*, we expect a translation headwind of -3.3% on FY 2020 adjusted diluted EPS growth, with the impact being -2 to -3% for FY 2021.
Trading update detail:
Continued strong New Category share2 growth and leadership in device sales with Vuse in the Top 53 vapour markets
Excellent performance in combustibles, with strong price mix and value and volume share gains
US performing strongly, with accelerating value share gains from Vuse and an excellent combustible performance benefiting from robust volume and good pricing driving continued value share growth
Expected de-leveraging to around 3x adjusted net debt** to adjusted EBITDA*** by end 2021
Further strong external recognition of our ESG strategy building on our BBB MSCI rating, and the recent improvement of our Sustainalytics score from 28.2 to 27.8 including;
1 Volume share in THP, Modern Oral and value share in Vapour
2 Volume share in THP, Modern Oral and value share in Vapour
3 Top 5 vapour markets by revenue: US, Canada, UK, France, Germany
4 Top 8 THP markets by revenue: Japan, South Korea, Russia, Italy, Germany, Romania, Ukraine, Poland
Market share data (unless otherwise stated) is at October 2020 and volume data is based on YTD October.
* Current exchange rates of USD/GBP 1.283 as at 7th December 2020
** Adjusted Net Debt is not a measure defined by IFRS. Adjusted Net Debt is total borrowings, including related derivatives, less cash and cash equivalents and current investments held at fair value, excluding the impact of the revaluation of Reynolds American Inc. acquired debt arising as part of the purchase price allocation process.
*** Adjusted EBITDA is not a measure defined by IFRS. Adjusted EBITDA is profit for the year before net finance costs/income, taxation on ordinary activities, depreciation, amortisation, impairment costs, the Group’s share of post-tax results of associates and joint ventures, and other adjusting items.
****A credit rating is not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold securities. A credit rating may be subject to withdrawal or revision at any time. Each rating should be evaluated separately of any other rating.
As used herein, volume share refers to the retail sales volume of the product sold as a proportion of total retail sales volume in that category and value share refers to the retail sales value of the product sold as a proportion of total retail sales value in that category. Please refer to the 2019 Annual Report on Form 20‐F for a full description of these measures, together with a description of other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), on page 257.
New Categories comprises Tobacco Heating Products (THP), Vapour and Modern Oral.
This announcement contains several non-GAAP measures used by management to monitor the Group’s performance. For the non-GAAP information contained in this announcement, no comparable GAAP or IFRS information is available on a forward-looking basis, as the effect of adjusting items and rates of exchange, which could be significant, may be highly variable and cannot be estimated with reasonable certainty.
The Group’s Management Board regularly reviews the measures used to assess and present the financial performance of the Group and, as relevant, its geographic segments, and believes that these measures provide additional useful information to investors. Certain of our measures are presented based on an adjusted basis and on a constant currency basis. Please refer to the 2019 Annual Report on Form 20‐F for a full description of each measure alongside non-financial KPIs, pages 257 to 268.
The principal non-GAAP measures which the Group uses and that are contained in this announcement are adjusted revenue and adjusted diluted earnings per share which are before the impact of adjusting items and are derived from revenue, and diluted earnings per share, respectively. This announcement also contains adjusted operating margin, a non-GAAP measure defined as adjusted profit from operations as a percentage of adjusted revenue and underlying tax rate, a non-GAAP measure defined as the tax rate incurred before the impact of adjusting items and to adjust for the inclusion of the Group’s share of post-tax results of associates and joint ventures within the Group’s pre-tax results.
This announcement also contains adjusted net debt and adjusted EBITDA. The Group uses adjusted net debt and adjusted EBITDA to assess its financial capacity. The Management Board believes that these additional measures, which are used internally, are useful to the users of the financial statements in helping them to see how business financing has changed over the year.
Adjusting items, as identified in accordance with the Group’s accounting policies, represent certain items of income and expense which the Group considers distinctive based on their size, nature or incidence. These include significant items in revenue, profit from operations, net finance costs, taxation and the Group’s share of the post‐tax results of associates and joint ventures which individually or, if of a similar type, in aggregate, are relevant to an understanding of the Group’s underlying financial performance. Although the Group does not believe that these measures are a substitute for IFRS measures, the Group does believe such results excluding the impact of adjusting items provide additional useful information to investors regarding the underlying performance of the business on a comparable basis.
Adjusting items in respect of adjusted revenue refers to the excise on bought-in goods in 2019 and earlier periods that the Group acquired and sold, for a limited period and were recorded in accordance with IFRS as a cost of sale and within revenue, with a dilutive effect on operating margin. Once the short-term arrangements cease, the goods will be manufactured by the Group, and the excise, in accordance with Group policy, will not be included in cost of sales or revenue – leading to a reduction in revenue and improvement in operating margin that does not represent the underlying performance of the Group. As short-term contract manufacturing agreements in ENA, to which such adjustments relate, have either ended in 2019 or will be immaterial in 2020, 2019 is the last year where the Group adjusted for the excise on bought-in goods.
The Group’s management reviews a number of our IFRS and non‐GAAP measures for the Group and its geographic segments at constant rates of exchange. This allows comparison of the Group’s results, had they been translated at the previous year’s average rates of exchange. The Group does not adjust for the normal transactional gains and losses in operations that are generated by exchange movements. Although the Group does not believe that these measures are a substitute for IFRS measures, the Group does believe that such results excluding the impact of currency fluctuations year‐on‐year provide additional useful information to investors regarding the operating performance on a local currency basis.
This announcement does not constitute an invitation to underwrite, subscribe for, or otherwise acquire or dispose of any British American Tobacco p.l.c. ("BAT") shares or other securities. 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, 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, including the projected future financial and operating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
All such forward-looking statements involve estimates and assumptions that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors. 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.
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 and the impact of an unfavourable ruling by a tax authority in a disputed area; 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 (including as a result of COVID-19); 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 inability to develop, commercialise and deliver the New Categories strategy; and changes in the market position, businesses, financial condition, results of operations or prospects of the Group.
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 BAT 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 the Company’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including the Annual Report on Form 20-F filed on 26 March 2020 and Current Reports on Form 6-K, which may be obtained free of charge at the SEC’s website, http://www.sec.gov, and the Company’s Annual Reports, which may be obtained free of charge from the British American Tobacco website http://www.bat.com.