DOMESTIC cigarette sales volumes rose by 18% in the first half of the year compared to last year, BAT chairman Kennedy Mandivheni said.
He attributed the increase to a stable currency and improvement on the economic front that has also improved disposable incomes.
Mandivheni said: â€œThis is attributed primarily to the stable currency and improvingÂ Â economic environment which in turn results in increased disposable income and demand for consumer goods.â€
But cut rag shipments to Mozambique were 31% lower in the same period owing to reduced demand.
He added: â€œCut rag shipments to Mozambique finished the first half of the year 31% lower than the same period in 2008, mainly because of reduced demand during the first half of the year. However, this is expected to recover by year end.â€
The groupâ€™s operating profit stood at US$223 000 while turnover was US$5,3 million.
BAT says sales prices have been held at lower levels than obtaining in the region.
Mandivheni hopes cost-containment measures introduced by the group will ensure that business continues to increase sales volumes.
Managing Director Lovemore Manatsa says the groupâ€™s Madison brand of cigarettes remained a favourate among smokers and has the bulk of total market share.
He said: â€œWithin our brand portfolio, Madison remained the brand with the highest market-share in the total Zimbabwe cigarette market.â€
Savanna Tobacco, BATâ€™s major rival on the market also claims it has 60% of the market with its toasted brandâ€”Pacific Storm. Savanna Tobacco sold half a billion cigarettes sticks in Zimbabwe and other markets in the first quarter of this year. Â
BAT on the other hand did not reveal how many cigarettes it sold. Instead the group gave a percentage increase.
Savanna says it is enjoying a near majority share of the market for long dominated by BAT. Savanna Tobacco was founded recently. The company owns the Pacific Storm, Mist, Breeze and Blue brands. But the companyâ€™s Pacific Storm has been widely accepted by formerly BAT loyal customers. BATâ€™s Newbury, Berkeley, Everest, Madison and Kingsgate also command respect on the market.
BAT believes the last half of the year will be more stable as further economic recovery takes place.