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    Tekel auction winner BAT says profits rally in first quarter

    07.05.2008 - 16:50 | Son Güncelleme:

    British American Tobacco, which won a public auction for the privatised Turkish state firm Tekel, said on Wednesday first-quarter profits rallied by more 20 percent, driven by increased sales of premium brands, price rises and favourable currency movements.

    BAT, the world's second-biggest tobacco company, said that net profits jumped 21 percent to 599 million pounds (758 million euros, 1.17 billion dollars) in the three months to the end of March, compared with the equivalent figure last year.

    BAT, which makes Lucky Strikes and Kent cigarettes, added that sales climbed by 14 percent to 2.541 billion pounds in the first quarter.

    "The year has clearly got off to a great start, with profit growth in all our regions," said chairman Jan du Plessis in comments accompanying the results statement.

    "The groups unrivalled spread of business between developed and developing markets should continue to serve shareholders well," he added.

    BAT also confirmed that Turkish regulators have given the go-ahead for its takeover of the Turkish cigarette maker Tekel.

    Earlier this year, BAT won a public auction for the privatized state firm Tekel with a bid of 1.72 billion dollars.

    BAT was meanwhile awaiting European regulatory clearance for its purchase of Denmark’s Skandinavisk Tobakskompagni.

    In February, BAT said it would become the market leader in Denmark and Norway after buying ST’s cigarette businesses for 2.06 billion pounds.

    Although tobacco companies are thriving in Asia, eastern Europe and South America, they are struggling in western Europe owing to countries including Britain, France and Ireland banning smoking in public places.

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