Imperial Tobacco has announced it expects its half-year revenue to be up despite a difficult first financial quarter.

The Lambert & Butler owner, which reported sales down 7% by volume and 1% by value in the last three months of 2011, said a stronger performance in the first quarter of 2012 had improved its revenue and profit momentum.

In a statement issued this morning, it said its overall financial position and operational performance for the financial year to 30 September 2012 was in line with the board’s expectations. Net tobacco revenues for the first half are expected to be up by around 3%, although volumes are predicted to fall by about 4%.

Imperial Tobacco is due to release its results for the half-year ending 31 March on Tuesday 1 May.