Gallaher’s interim sales surged 84% to £4.217m on the back of strong performances from the cigarette makers Liggett-Ducat in Russia and Austria Tabak.

The maker of Camel, Hamlet cigars and Condor tobacco said pre-tax profit before amortisation of intangible assets for the six months ended June 30 jumped 23.3% to £223m from £181m in 2001.

Gallaher’s UK turnover - with brands such as B&H and Silk Cut - increased by 3.4% to £1,898.6m in the half-year. Internationally, turnover reached £2,317.9m compared to £456.1m in 2001, on the back of the Russian and Austrian operations.

The group said the UK duty paid cigarette market has remained stable compared to last year, assisted by H.M Customs’ border controls.