Imperial Tobacco Group is to seek a listing for its European logistics division Logista on the Spanish stock market, the British company said today, as it focuses on its core cigarettes business. 

The world's fourth-largest international tobacco group said its subsidiary Altadis would sell a portion of shares in Logista to investors in an initial public offer.

Imperial Tobacco said it would retain the majority of Logista shares. 

The maker of Davidoff and Gauloises cigarettes said in February that it was considering listing shares in the business. 

Logista is a leading cigarette distributor, both for Imperial and other tobacco companies, in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, serving about 300,000 delivery points. 

The unit's chief executive Luis Egido Galvez said the group had maintained a solid operating performance in recent years despite a general decline in tobacco volumes and a weak economic environment in southern Europe. 

He said in a statement that his strategy was based on further expansion in sectors beyond tobacco, as well as improvements in operational efficiency and the introduction of new services. Adjusted operating profit for business in the six months to March 31 declined slightly, by 1%, to £73m.