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Vice stock time again. I know there has been a little bit of controversy between writers on this website about certain sectors, but allow me to double down on the tobacco space (as an investor naturally, I've never touched the horrible stuff personally). Tom W and I both independently have recently expressed our enthusiasm towards Imperial Brands (IMB). Reading through a pre-close update from its London-listed peer British American Tobacco (BATS) today, I did wonder if the observation that it would be maintaining its 65% payout ratio dividend was a slight dig at the decision by Imperial to cut its own shareholder remuneration. It is not all laughs at BAT though...
Hello, Share Meshers. With respect to my brainy colleague Chris Bailey who seems to think that investing in tobacco companies is ok, I do not invest in anything which says on the packet that it might adversely affect health. But there is now a more pragmatic reason to consider for avoiding shares in tobacco companies...
Richard Burrows, the chairman of British American Tobacco (BATS), has increased his ownership of the company with a significant £176,017 purchase. 5,000 shares were bought at a price of 3520.34. He now has 15,000 shares in the business.
There are some people who like to criticise Tobacco companies for being evil. Labour would like to tax it even more as part of its plan for ‘British Socialism’. But remember that British American Tobacco (BATS) is investing a lot of money in developing E-Cigarettes.
In a bear market, defensive stocks like Tobacco, utilities and Pharmaceuticals are always a good bet, these stocks tend to outperform the index. In my view utilities could take a big hit if bond yields rise, in the event of the Federal Reserve getting into trouble. Pharmaceutical stocks have been stimulated by takeover activity, but in the absence of deals they are still a safe bet. We always need drugs irrespective of the state of the economy.
Neil Woodford has been adding to his holding in British American Tobacco (BATS) for his CF Woodford Equity Income Fund. Brokers such as Berenberg and Noruma also rate the share a buy. And stop the press, since I first wrote about them HERE have also topped up!
Shares in British American Tobacco (BATS) are currently trading at 3497.5p on a PE ratio of 14.9 and yielding 4.07%. I bought on the 4th August at 3,444.51p with all costs included, and am very pleased with the progress since then. I have a feeling it may well become one of my ‘favourite shares’.
It was culling through the morning paper, with a fortifying cup of strong coffee in hand, when I came across a report that R.J.Reynolds the US tobacco company was being sued for $23.6 billion - or £13.8 billion in the real currency of George Osborne’s Britannia. I took a slow long sip of the coffee and read on. It told me little definitive but did reveal yet again the extraordinary freewheeling of the US justice system in which is hard to relate to the way things are done in here. If this sum related to British American Tobacco (BATS) in the UK and not to R.J.Reynolds, the shares at today’s price would be selling on a multiple of 4.7 times that claim. Or to put it another way – a way that tells you something useful - the claim represents at today’s British American share price of 3500p, one fifth of British American’s current market equity capitalization.; or looking at it from another perspective, half the Group’s total assets.
In my last article on British American Tobacco (BATS) I was looking for a support near 3050p. The stock declined to that level in January this year but in the last four weeks a strong rally has unfolded. Nothing has changed since August last year. The underperformance of the stock relative to the FTSE 100 depicted by the falling green line on the chart still remains and emerging markets are still slowing down.
It is a delicious double irony of political philosophy and commercial pragmatism to learn that the China National Tobacco Corporation had agreed a deal with British American Tobacco (BATS) to sell the late Chairman Mao’s favourite puff, State Express 555.
My last review of BAT Industries (BATS) was a bullish one, having examined the management strategy of this large and important international business geared as it is, by common consent (entirely reasonably so) to a long term, irresistible decline demand for its products. I noted at the time that analysts estimated on a consensus view that sales revenue would grow by 20% over the two year 2013 and 2014 to an annual sales figure of £16.7 billion by the end of next year along with a 20% increase in earnings and dividends to 248p and 162p respectively estimated for the year to 31 December 2014.
Belonging to a generation of children who smoked Turf cigarettes on London bombed sites to collect the cards of famous film stars and whose culturally formative involvement with cigarettes was through the allure of films like the Maltese Falcon I start this review to camera – as they say.
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