LONDON (Reuters) - British American Tobacco PLC , the world's No. 2 cigarette maker, said 2013 core earnings rose 6 percent, helped by growth in market share which was offset by currency headwinds and declining cigarette sales.
The company posted 2013 adjusted diluted earnings per share of 216.6 pence compared to the 205.2 pence it made last year, and in line with an analyst consensus forecast of 216.8 pence.
Without adverse currency movements in three of its four regions, BAT said adjusted earnings per share would have come in 10 percent higher at 224.7 pence.
The company also said it would lift its annual dividend by 6 percent to 142.4 pence per share.
BAT said its global brands - Kent, Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall - grew market share by 20 basis points in its key markets, with Dunhill and Pall Mall selling higher volumes, and helping to boost earnings.
Earnings were also lifted by an improved operating margin, a result of cost cutting and the standardisation of BAT's systems, the company said.
BAT said group cigarette volumes declined by 2.7 percent in 2013.
Like its rivals, including Philip Morris International and Imperial Tobacco , BAT is grappling with declining sales in a number of markets due to increasing government regulation and more health-conscious consumers, as well as economic weakness and smuggling.
As a result, the companies are investing in electronic cigarettes, which are battery-powered metal tubes that turn nicotine-laced liquid into vapour.
These so-called e-cigarettes are gaining popularity in markets such as Europe and the United States with people looking for smoking alternatives.
BAT has launched its own version, called Vype, but did not give details of its performance.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Li-mei Hoang and Karolin Schaps)