British American Tobacco Dividend Lifted 11%

LONDON -- British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS.L  ) reported its half-year results this morning. The group's adjusted operating profits advanced 3%, while price rises and demand from emerging markets propped up its organic revenue by 4%.

The world's second-largest public cigarette group, which boasts more than 200 brands in its portfolio, said that it was hit by unfavorable exchange-rate movements -- in particular, against the Brazilian real, euro, South African rand, and Russian ruble.

Chairman Richard Burrows commented: "Despite the global economic uncertainty and the adverse impact of exchange rates, British American Tobacco has delivered another good set of results. The underlying business continues to perform well and we are confident of another year of good earnings growth."

The Group’s best-selling brands achieved overall volume growth of 4%: Dunhill was up by 3%, Kent by 2%, Lucky Strike by 19% and Pall Mall by 3%.

The Board declared an interim dividend of 42.2 pence, an 11% increase on last year, to be paid on Sept. 26.

Shares in BAT fell around 1% this morning to 3,286 pence. However, with a further lift to the dividend and earnings growth on track, today's fall is unlikely to perturb ace investor Neil Woodford.

You see, Woodford is a high-profile shareholder of BAT, and his decision to buy the tobacco share back in 1999 and 2000 has helped power his City funds to an impressive 347% total return -- and thrash the wider market -- during the 15 years to Dec. 31, 2011.

You can discover the other shares Woodford now holds -- and which losers he's avoided -- within "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor."

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