- Tobacco giant Imperial brands reported a jump in first-half profit thanks to strong tobacco pricing and reduced losses from its next generation products including e-cigarettes.

For the six months ended 31 March, pre-tax profit increased to £2.06 billion from £785 million year-on-year as revenue grew 9.2% to £533 million.

Tobacco revenue grew 3.2% even as tobacco volumes fell 3.3% with 'consumer demand partially offset by weaker duty free volumes and a reduction in US inventories following strong wholesaler purchases in March 2020,' the company said.

Next generation product losses were cut by 62.5% to £83 million as 'we continue to optimise investment and as the prior year write-downs (£95m) were not repeated to the same extent,' it added.

The interim dividend per share was raised by 1.0%, or £4 million.

Looking ahead, the company said it was on-track to deliver full year results in line with guidance.

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