Cigarette manufacturer British American Tobacco’s first-quarter reported profit from operations rose 6% to £616m on sales up 9% to £2,297m.

Jan du Plessis, chairman of British American Tobacco, said: "British American Tobacco has made a good start to 2006, with the first quarter's results maintaining the momentum achieved in 2005.”

He added: "Although exchange gains are unlikely to continue at the recent level as the year progresses, there is no doubt that the group is performing well.”