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BAT and Imperial Brands should fire up share buy backs, says broker

British American Tobacco PLC (LON:BAT) and Imperial Brands PLC (LON:IMB) could, if they prioritised share buy backs, buy back their current market values in nine and seven years.

Based on this calculation, RBC Capital Markets has upgraded its ratings to outperform from sector perform for both cigarette makers.

The analysts acknowledged that they were by no means the first to estimate how many years it would take tobacco companies' free cash flow to cover their market capitalisations.

What makes it more than an academic discussion this time, they believe, is the “buyers' strike” by ESG-inspired investors.

“For it to make sense, the companies would have to be confident in the sustainability of their business models,” the analysts said.

Seeing little sign of sales losing momentum, driven by significant pricing power, the analysts incorporated concerns about profit margins with a new base case forecast for the coming decade.

“It is hard to see how the tobacco sector can extricate itself from investors ESG penalty box,” RBCs analysts said.

“If institutional investors wont buRead More – Source

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