British American Tobacco profits rise

British American Tobacco, the world's second-biggest maker of cigarettes, has announced a 24 percent rise in profits in 2012 as the company raised prices amid stricter legislation against smoking.

Earnings after tax grew to £3.84 billion in 2012 from net profit totalling £3.1 billion a year earlier, the company said in an earnings statement on Thursday.

"BAT delivered strong profit growth in 2012, achieved through good pricing and an outstanding improvement in operating margin, partially offset by adverse exchange rate movements," chairman Richard Burrows added in the statement.

"Despite the difficult trading conditions in many parts of the world, particularly southern Europe, these results demonstrate the company is in excellent shape and we remain confident that our strategy will continue to deliver superior shareholder returns."

The maker of Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes has the broadest global spread of the big tobacco groups and sold 694 billion cigarettes in 2012.

BAT has an extensive presence in Africa.

Image: Getty

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