Tobacco company Imperial Tobacco's half-year pre-tax profit to March 31 rose 13% to £547m on sales up 3% to £1,496m.

The group also said that cigarette volumes had increased 9% to £86.3bn during the year.

Gareth Davis, chief executive of Imperial Tobacco, said: “We performed well across all our regions, increasing our leadership in the UK and improving our cigarette market shares in Germany, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.”