BAT Sees Virus Effect Pushing Sales Growth to Lower End of Range

(Bloomberg) -- British American Tobacco Plc said sales growth will be at the lower end of its guidance this year as the coronavirus pandemic creates uncertainty over its business prospects.

The company has forecast adjusted revenue growth of 3% to 5% at constant currencies, BAT said in a statement Thursday. The cigarette maker confirmed its 65% dividend pay-out policy.

While the coronavirus will affect sales in the second quarter, the company said the outbreak has had a limited impacted on consumer demand so far. That mirrors comments made by rival Philip Morris International Inc. last week after it abandoned its earnings guidance as the virus weighs on duty-free tobacco sales.

While some consumers may smoke more at home than they would at the office, others might do so less because they’re home with their families, Philip Morris said.

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