British American Tobacco posts £17bn loss but reaffirms dividend growth commitment

Despite posting a massive £17bn loss, BAT retains dividend commitment, planning mid-single digit profit growth amid US investments and global tobacco declines.

Mark Rogers

Mark Rogers

British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS) on Thursday said it remains committed to growing its dividend, despite swinging to a massive £17.06 billion pretax loss in 2023 amid a revenue decline.

The cigarette and vaping products manufacturer reported that its revenue fell 1.3% to £27.28 billion last year from £27.66 billion in 2022.

The company attributed the significant swing to a loss from a £9.32 billion profit a year earlier primarily to a jump in depreciation, amortisation and impairment costs to £28.61 billion from £1.31 billion. BAT said the higher depreciation costs include a non-cash impairment charge of £27.3 billion, relating largely to its acquired U.S. combustible tobacco brands.

In spite of the weak results, BAT declared a total dividend of 235.52 pence per share, representing a 2.0% increase from its dividend of 230.9p a year earlier.

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BAT Chief Executive Tadeu Marroco said the company is investing to strengthen its U.S. business, quicken innovation momentum and boost capabilities to support its strategic plan. He said these investments, along with U.S. macro-economic challenges, will impact BAT in 2024 but thereafter the company will build over time to deliver 3-5% organic revenue growth and mid-single digit adjusted organic profit growth from operations by 2026 on a constant currency basis.

“We are committed to continuing to reward shareholders with strong cash returns throughout this period,” Marroco said.

Additionally, BAT projected the global tobacco market volume will decline by around 3% in 2024, largely because of drops in the U.S. and Indonesia.

BAT shares rose 7.2% by 10:20 GMT. The stock remains down 19.2% over the past year

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