Imperial Brands, British American Tobacco sign deals for new credit

FILE PHOTO: Attendees try British American Tobacco's new tobacco heating system device 'glo' after a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

(Reuters) - Cigarette makers Imperial Brands IMB.L and British American Tobacco BATS.L announced deals on Tuesday for new credit while saying they were not seeing any major hit to business from the coronavirus outbreak.

Imperial Brands, the maker of Gauloises Blondes cigarettes, said it secured a new 3.5 billion euros ($3.85 billion) credit line with an initial three-year term that could be extended bi-annually.

The new loan, which replaced an existing 3 billion euros facility, was currently undrawn, the Bristol-based company said.

The Kool cigarette maker also said that despite the pandemic hitting economies, trading was in line with expectations so far. The company said it increased stock in regional distribution centers in hard-hit countries such as Italy, France and Spain and continued to make deliveries to retailers.

British American Tobacco separately said on Tuesday it priced an offering of $2.4 billion notes and intends to use the proceeds for general business purposes, including paying off upcoming maturities.

The tobacco group, whose brands include Lucky Strike and Dunhill cigarettes, earlier in March said it too had not seen any outbreak-related hit on its business and maintained its full-year forecasts.

Reporting by Siddharth Cavale; Editing by Bernard Orr and Shounak Dasgupta