BRITISH American Tobacco’s (BAT’s) first-half earnings fell 9 percent to £2.67 billion (R47.6bn), hurt by a stronger pound and lower cigarette consumption, the company said yesterday. That was in line with a survey of nine analysts, who predicted adjusted profit from operations of £2.66bn. Excluding currency effects, profit rose 4 percent. BAT reiterated that it expected high single-digit percentage growth in earnings a share at constant exchange rates. Earnings were hurt by the pound’s 12 percent gain against a basket of 10 leading currencies over the past year. Berenberg Bank analyst Erik Bloomquist said the results were “robust and even slightly better than expected on volumes”. – Bloomberg