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Imperial Brands Says US Cigarette Volume Down 6.4%

British tobacco company Imperial Brands Plc said on Wednesday US industry volumes fell 6.4% in the four weeks to 18 May, smaller than the 11.2% decline that research firm Nielsen's data showed on Monday.

The Nielsen report had pushed down shares of Imperial Brands, British American Tobacco and Altria between 1% and 3% on Tuesday.

Blowing Steam

Imperial Brands said late on Wednesday that its figures were based on data from MSAi, which compiles data from over 300,000 stores, representing at least 95% of US tobacco volumes.

The company also said it expects US industry volumes to fall between 4.5% and 5% in 2019, close to larger rival Altria's forecast of a 4%-5% drop.

Analysts from Wells Fargo estimate a 6% drop in volumes in 2019.

"Higher adoption of e-cigarettes, led by Juul, was a key factor in the declines of cigarette volumes," Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog wrote in a note on Tuesday.

Imperial's shares hit an eight-year low of 1,940.4 pence in trading on Wednesday and stock closed down 2.1% at 1,957.8 pence. BAT closed down 2.7% at 2,714.72 pence.

News by Reuters, edited by Checkout. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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