Booming sales of Lucky Strike in western Europe and Latin America were behind an 8 per cent rise in operating profits at the cigarette giant British American Tobacco.
Sales of the world's second largest cigarette company's top four brands –Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall – rose by 3 per cent last year, but Lucky Strike outstripped the rest with growth of 11 per cent. The four brands now account for more than a third of BAT's sales by volume.
At the same time, like most of its rivals, BAT saw a sharp increase in sales of rolling tobacco as austerity-hit smokers turned to roll-your-own.
European sales of rolling tobacco, where its main brand is Pall Mall, were up 8 per cent with particularly strong demand in Germany, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands and Italy.
Headline operating profits increased to £5.97bn on sales up by 4 per cent at £16bn.