BAT shares rise on tobacco pact

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The Independent Online
SHARES IN British American Tobacco rose 13p to 545p yesterday after its American offshoot Brown & Williamson said it is to join a round of price increases being pushed through by rivals Philip Morris and R J Reynolds.

The increases, which will add around 23 per cent to the cost of a pack of cigarettes in the US, is to finance the $206bn payout under the tobacco litigation settlement agreed with 46 US states' attorney generals last week. Analysts say that the increases - thought to be among the biggest seen in the US industry - will raise around $10bn next year. That is roughly enough to cover the amounts that the companies will have to pay out in 1999.