Imperial Tobacco Group Plc, Europe’s second-biggest tobacco company, reported growth in first-half earnings that matched analysts’ estimates after raising prices for cigarettes across its main U.K. market.
Diageo Plc, the maker of Johnnie Walker Scotch, will buy a 53.4 percent stake in India’s United Spirits Ltd. for 111.7 billion rupees ($2.04 billion) to gain leadership in the world’s largest whiskey-consuming nation.
British American Tobacco Plc, Europe’s largest cigarette maker, said the strength of sterling against currencies such as the Brazilian real checked growth in first-half earnings, sending the shares lower.
Nestle SA’s sales growth may trail that of Danone for a second year in 2011 as its smaller French rival benefits from a greater concentration on healthy food and emerging markets such as Russia and China, analysts said.
British American Tobacco Plc, Europe’s largest cigarette maker, said it will step up a buyback program this year by repurchasing 1.25 billion pounds ($2 billion) of shares after profit rose 11 percent in 2011.