UK cigarette maker, the Gallaher Group, said current trading remains in line with expectations, despite increased personal tobacco import allowances imposed by governments here and in Europe.
"Gallaher confirms that group trading in 2003 is in line with expectations,and the group's business remains in a strong position going forward," the company said in a trading statement.
Gallaher's market share in Britain, its biggest market, has been steady at 38% both in 2002 and the first half of 2003.
In the rest of Continental Europe, volumes grew by 7% in the first 10 months of the year, despite duty increases in France and Germany. In Ireland, Gallaher holds 49% of the market.
The company, which makes Benson and Hedges and Silk Cut cigarettes, closed its manufacturing plant in Tallaght, Dublin earlier this year, cutting 121 jobs, as part of its European restructuring plan.