UPDATE 2-British American Tobacco CEO says 'big consolidation' not imminent

jueves 25 de febrero de 2016 11:43 GYT

* To seek bolt-on deals, especially in Africa, Asia

* Full-year revenue beats analysts' expectation

* Co gains market share in 2015

* Shares rise 1 pct (Adds CEO comment, details, share price)

By Esha Vaish

Feb 25 (Reuters) - British American Tobacco Plc's chief executive said he does not expect any "big consolidation" among the world's top four tobacco companies in the next few years, quashing rumours that the maker of Dunhill cigarettes might bid for a rival.

The world's No. 2 cigarette company will instead look for smaller "bolt-on" acquisitions, particularly in Africa and Asia, CEO Nicandro Durante told Reuters in an interview on Thursday, after BAT reported a smaller-than-expected drop in 2015 revenue.

With the world smoking less every year due to health concerns, tougher regulation and economic weakness, competition among the big four tobacco firms is stronger than ever.

Multiple media reports in recent months have linked both BAT and Japan Tobacco Inc with a possible bid for Imperial Brands Plc, a deal that some analysts say would be the last big play in a shrinking, consolidating market.   Continuación...