BAT says volumes down on weak demand

BAT says volumes down on weak demand

HARARE, April 26 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s biggest cigarette manufacturer, British American Tobacco Zimbabwe (BAT), says sales volumes so far have declined sharply from last year but expects a recovery in the second half of the year.

The company, which enjoys a market share of over 70 percent, is the maker of the Madison, Everest, Newbury, Kingsgate and Berkley cigarrete brands.

Clara Mlambo, who took over as managing director from Lovemore Manatsa on February 1, told the company’s annual general meeting on Tuesday that sales were suffering from low consumer demand.

BAT has operated at 75 percent of capacity over the past two years.

“Our volumes are much lower as compared to the same period last year. We expect the performance to pick up in the next three months going into the next half of the year,” said Mlambo.

“We just have to leverage on our portfolio to make sure we meet the various consumer needs because affordability has become a big challenge.”

In the full-year to December 2015, sales declined nine percent from 2014.

Sales volumes for its local brands were down 10 percent while its Dunhill brand grew 12 percent, although it has smaller market share.