The Group has paid two interim dividends totalling 62.56 pence per share in June 2019 and September 2019, in line with their quarterly dividend payment policy to give shareholders a more regular cash return.
The Board approved a further interim dividend of 72.00 pence per share and will propose a final dividend of 72.01 pence per share, bringing the total dividend for the year to 206.57 pence per share. The third interim dividend will be paid on 31 December 2019 with an ex-dividend date of 22 November 2019. Subject to AGM approval, the proposed final dividend will be paid on 31 March 2020, with an ex-dividend date of 21 February 2020.
Other financial highlights include:
Net revenue up +2.2% driven by growth in tobacco and NGP
Adjusted EPS down -1.6% with the following changes since the pre-close trading update: crystallisation of NGP supply contract termination costs and lower than expected 'other income' partially offset by a lower adjusted tax rate
Resilient tobacco value creation model with growth in revenue, profit and cash
Good tobacco growth from Americas and Europe more than offsetting Africa, Asia & Australasia (AAA) challenges
NGP revenues of £285m up +48% with growth in Europe, the US and Japan
Quality growth from Asset Brands with net revenue up +4.4%; +140bps to 66.1% of Group net revenue
Adjusted operating profit reflects higher net NGP investment/costs (£112m) and reduction in other income (£70m)
Reported operating profit down 8.7% with a goodwill impairment and associated costs of disposal of the Premium Cigar Division (£525m); provisions for Russian excise tax liabilities (£139m), a fair value adjustment of acquisition consideration for Von Erl (£129m), partly offset by reduced restructuring costs (£144m) and prior year impact of distributor administration (£110m)
Premium Cigar impairment will be partly offset on completion by £300m-£400m of FX gains from reserves
Commitment to evolve non-GAAP financial disclosure with changes to adjusted performance measures in FY20