The UK's Imperial Tobacco Group is considering listing shares in its European logistics division on the stock market, according to reports by media outlets including Reuters
and the Wall Street Journal.
The company's tobacco brands include Davidoff, Gauloises
Blondes, West and JPS.
Imperial's logistics business is of considerable size — £8.3 billion ($13.9 billion) — compared to the company's tobacco revenue of £20.9 billion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, according to the company's annual report.
Imperial said it has "one of the largest logistics businesses in Europe, with operations extending across Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Poland." It said it makes more than 40 million deliveries every year to 300,000 points
of sale, including tobacconists, convenience stores, grocery stores,
kiosks and bookshops, pharmacies, hospitals and gas stations.
The company said it does logistics for both domestic and international tobacco companies, including Imperial Tobacco, as well as for non-tobacco sectors including telecommunications, transportation, pharmaceutical, publishing and lottery.
"We offer all our customers a comprehensive, high quality service encompassing order taking, storage and stock management, order preparation, transport and distribution, invoicing and collection and customer services," the company said. "Our logistics business continues to show resilience, delivering a robust performance in a challenging operating environment.
"The stability of our profit delivery over recent years," it continued, "against a backdrop of deteriorating economic conditions and declining cigarette market volumes, reflects the expertise of our logistics management team and their diligent focus on generating new growth opportunities and managing costs," the company said in its annual report. In tobacco logistics, cost saving initiatives and fee increases helped mitigate the impact of tobacco declines."
The company is also involved in the pharmaceutical business and lottery sales, both industries the company said it is growing.
"Our wholesale business also performed well and our publications business is benefiting from a restructuring in Spain and divestment in Portugal," the company said.