Packs of Gauloises cigarettes are on display in a tobacco shop in Vienna, Austria, May 12, 2017.
Packs of Gauloises cigarettes are on display in a tobacco shop in Vienna, Austria, May 12, 2017. Reuters / Leonhard Foeger

Imperial Brands said on Tuesday the terms of its recent agreement to exit Russia did not include a clause allowing it to buy back its business there in future, as Western companies rush to leave the country following its invasion of Ukraine.

The maker of Winston cigarettes and Backwoods cigars, which also reported a small rise in first-half sales, had said in April "investors based in Russia" were buying its business there, which contributed about 2% to annual net sales when combined with Ukraine.

During an earnings call on Tuesday, executives said the transaction was closed and there's "absolutely no clause of buyback in there".

On Monday, Renault said it would sell its majority stake in carmaker Avtovaz to a Russian science institute reportedly for just one rouble with a six-year option to buy it back, leaving the door open for the French carmaker's return.

Imperial also reported on Tuesday adjusted net revenue of about 3.5 billion pounds ($4.3 billion), up 0.3% in constant currencies, for the six months ended March 31, as demand for e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products helped make up for lower tobacco volumes.

After years of slow growth and market share losses, CEO Stefan Bomhard has been trying to steer Imperial through a five-year turnaround plan laid out in 2021 focused on its five top markets and expanding next-generation products (NGP) deemed less harmful to health. Together, the United States, UK, Germany, Spain and Australia account for over 70% of Imperial's revenue.

"Our focus for the remainder of 2022 will be to invest further in our five priority markets and begin the roll-out of our NGP strategy," Bomhard said.

Adjusted earnings per share rose to 113 pence per share from 107 pence a share last year.

Sales of next generation brands, which include Pulze heated tobacco and blu e-cigarettes, were up 8.7% to 101 million pounds, driven by demand in Europe. In November, the company reported a more than 50% reduction in losses in the business.

($1 = 0.8063 pounds)