British American Tobacco has seen a slight rise in first quarter profit and said that this year's trading had started in line with its own expectations.

The maker of Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall reported pre-tax profit to March 31 of £464m just ahead of last year’s £463m.

In Europe volumes rose 3% with good performances from Germany, Hungary, Russia as well as the UK where costs had been lowered, BAT said

Group volumes were fractionally ahead at £184bn from £183bn with BAT's top four brands Lucky Strike, Kent, Dunhill and Pall Mall volumes up by 15%.

Chairman Martin Broughton said the group's performance as very resilient considering the poor state of the world economy and difficult trading in the US.