Imperial Tobacco has blamed supply chain problems and touch market conditions in Eastern Europe and the US for a fall in first-half volumes.

The Lambert & Butler maker predicted a 4% fall in cigarettes volumes for the past six months in its latest trading statement.

But the company said its cut tobacco business – which includes the Golden Virginia brand – had notched up volume growth of 10% for the period.

It cited the UK, Germany and central Europe as markets that had performed well.

Imperial will release full results for the past six months on 27 April.

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