Tobacco firm British American Tobacco (BAT), the maker of Dunhill and Lucky Strike, said on Thursday SA’s cigarette ban was costing it about £25m (R550m) in foregone profits a month.

The tobacco giant said it expects a positive outcome from a court challenge to the ban in SA, now scheduled for August, while it has also seen pressure in other emerging markets amid Covid-19 related factory closures.

Volumes fell overall in the group’s half-year to end-June, but held up in major developed markets, such as Japan, the US and Europe, the group said on Friday. BAT said it had gained market share in developed markets, which it said could be attributed to its pricing mix and diverse product portfolio.

Adjusted revenue in its half year to end-June rose 1.1% to £12.27bn, while adjusted profit from operations rose 3.1% to £5.37bn.

The group adjusted for some items that temporarily distort revenue, such as those related to third-party contract manufacturing arrangements, which temporarily inflate revenue and the cost of sales without an effect on profits.