RIAL Tobacco paid around £170m in UK corporation tax in its 2013 financial year, more than its total UK tax bill for the previous seven years, after settling a dispute with the tax authority.
Imperial Tobacco, the world’s fifth-largest tobacco company by market capitalisation, declined to give details of what it described as “a confidential and closed matter”.
“Imperial Tobacco Plc pays UK corporation tax in accordance with UK taxation rules,” a spokesman said.
HMRC declined to comment on the deal, citing rules on taxpayer confidentiality.
Imperial Tobacco referred to tax settlements in its annual report but had not previously revealed the HMRC deal.
Eddy Hargreaves, analyst at Canaccord Genuity who covers tobacco and consumer goods producers, said Imperial Tobacco's tax arrangements were unlikely to be very different to its rivals and said all companies seek to minimise their tax bill.
Imperial would not confirm the period that the settlement related to, nor its size.