Camel, Newport among brands seeing write-down of $34 billion by owner British American Tobacco



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British American Tobacco on Thursday said it was taking a £27.3 billion ($34.5 billion) writedown on the value of its U.S. cigarette brands.

The cigarette maker had previously said it was going to take a big write-down, which it estimated in December would be around £25 billion.

According to data from Calcbench, there hasn’t been a writedown this large by a U.S.-listed company since AOL’s $35.6 billion write-off in 2014.

BAT is writing down the value of Newport over 20 years, and Camel, Natural American Spirit and Pall Mall over 30 years, in addition to an impairment of the goodwill from the 2017 acquisition of Reynolds American.

The cigarette market prior to COVID was dropping by about 5% to 5.5% per year, was fairly steady during the worst of the pandemic, and then saw industry volumes collapse by 10.6% in 2022, BAT said.

The company more broadly is shifting to smokeless products, where it aims to get 50% of its revenue by 2035.

On an adjusted basis, it said its profit rose by 3.1% to £12.46 billion on 1.6% revenue growth to £27.28 billion last year. It said its new categories portfolio turned profitable two years ahead of target, and accounted for £398 million of profits.

BAT stock
BATS,
+6.06%

BTI,
-1.18%
rallied 5% in early trade, though it’s down 19% over the last 52 weeks.

Though it didn’t commit to a stock buyback, the company said it will evaluate opportunities to return cash once leverage reaches the middle of its desired range, and it said it will consider disposals and “non-strategic market exits.” Analysts at JPMorgan said that’s a sign it may sell at least some of its stake in ITC
500875,
-5.13%,
and shares in the Indian conglomerate fell.



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