British tobacco firm Imperial Brands has revealed it is to go “all-in” on vaping after a better than expected full-year revenue and profit.
The maker of Gauloises and Winston cigarettes is now shifting its focus towards the vaping market and is preparing to launch a heated tobacco product in Japan in early 2019, according to a report by Reuters news agency.
Imperial Brands, which reported a net revenue of $39.83 billion for the full-year ending September 30, is also planning to increase investment in its e-cigarette brand blu by around 100 million pounds ($131 million) over the coming six months.
It’s plan for “Next Generation Products” (NGP) also includes launching a “connected” e-cigarette in America with built-in age verification, according to the company’s CEO Alison Cooper, which it hopes will give peace of mind to those worried about underage vaping.
Cooper told America’s CNBC: "We're absolutely focused on the vaping opportunities, it's significant. "We've got a fantastic set of assets in the space including the (vaping) brand blu, we've got proprietary innovation and leading-edge science, all of these things support a really significant opportunity for Imperial so we are going all-in.”
News of its investment in heated tobacco will also narrow the gap between Imperial Tobacco and its larger rivals British American and Philip Morris, which already sell “heat not burn” tobacco products worldwide.
Imperial Tobacco reported in its earnings statement how its net revenue rose 2.1 per cent with 0.9 per cent from tobacco and 1.2 per cent from Next Generation Products (NGP) such as e-cigarettes, which was better than analysts’ average estimate of 7.63 billion.
"In the year ahead, we expect to deliver constant currency revenue growth at, or above, the upper end of our 1-4% revenue growth range driven by consistent growth in tobacco and an acceleration in NGP revenues," the company said in a statement released Tuesday.