Cigarette maker BAT says profits rise in first half

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British American Tobacco, the world's second-biggest maker of cigarettes, said on Wednesday that net profits climbed by five percent in the first half.

Net earnings advanced to 1.525 billion pounds (1.828 billion euros, 2.381 billion dollars) in the first six months of 2010 compared with the first half of 2009 for the maker of Lucky Strike and Kent cigarettes, BAT said.

Group revenues jumped 7.6 percent to 7.298 billion pounds, the group added in an earnings statement.

"In a difficult trading environment, I am pleased to report that British American Tobacco has had a good first half, with continued revenue growth and a very satisfactory increase in profit from operations," said BAT chairman Richard Burrows.

BAT announced last month that its chief executive Paul Adams will retire next year and will be replaced by chief operating officer Nicandro Durante.

© 2010 AFP

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