BAT Malaysia anticipates more challenges for Malaysia’s legal tobacco industry in 2010

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Petaling Jaya, 20 April 2010 – British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Berhad (BAT Malaysia) held its 49th Annual General Meeting at the Hilton, Petaling Jaya today. For the full year ended 2009, BAT Malaysia registered a revenue decline of 5.1% compared to 2008 due to declining volumes, which has resulted in a profit after tax that is 8% lower than the previous year at RM747 million.

However, despite the challenging environment and in line with BAT Malaysia’s high dividend payout policy, the shareholders have today agreed to the recommended final dividend of 62.00 sen net per share for the financial year ended 31 December 2009. This brings the total dividend for the 2009 financial year to 236.00 sen per share, representing a payout of 90.2% of profit attributable to shareholders.

According to William Toh, Managing Director of BAT Malaysia, “2009 was a very challenging year for BAT Malaysia in view of the uncertain economic climate, weakened consumers spending power and the sharp increase in the level of illicit cigarettes which led to a decline in total industry volumes. Market confidence was low and due to the impact on consumer spending power, we saw the trend of down trading to cheaper alternatives such as smuggled cigarettes. As a result, a sharp 50% increase in illicit incidence led to a decline in total industry volumes by 11.2% in 2009.”

“We are encouraged by the commitment and increased enforcement efforts by the Royal Malaysian Customs and other enforcement agencies over the past year to deter smuggling of cigarettes. We hope that the Government will look into more deterrent measures such as introducing stricter penalties for the smuggling of cigarettes as fines alone will only be a cost of doing business for the illegal operators,” Toh further added.

Moving forward into 2010, BAT Malaysia anticipates further challenges in the operating environment with continued high levels of smuggled cigarettes and regulatory changes being introduced.

“We remain committed to protect our market leadership, deliver sustainable profit and maximising shareholder value by continuing to focus on our strategies of generating Growth, enhancing Productivity, running our business Responsibly and strengthening our Winning Organisation,” said Toh.

About BAT Malaysia

British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Berhad (BAT Malaysia) emerged on 3rd November 1999 from the merger of Rothmans of Pall Mall (Malaysia) Berhad and Malaysian Tobacco Company Berhad. These two long established tobacco companies brought with the merger, experience and an unrivalled portfolio of highly successful international brands to create the largest tobacco company in the country.

BAT Malaysia manufactures and markets high quality tobacco products designed to meet diverse consumer preferences. Brand portfolio includes well-established international names like DUNHILL, KENT and PALL MALL. BAT Malaysia has about 1,600 employees who are involved in the full spectrum of the tobacco industry, from leaf buying and processing to manufacturing, marketing and distribution.       

BAT Malaysia is part of the British American Tobacco group, which is the world’s most international tobacco group and the second largest stock market listed tobacco group by global market share.

For more information, please contact BAT Malaysia:

Mr Chin Tuck Weng, Corporate Affairs Manager at 03-7941 7318 or
Mr Daniel Lui, Corporate Communications Manager at 03-7941 7311 or