Scottish & Newcastle's chairman today said trading in the first four months of the year had been in line with expectations.

Speaking at the compay's Annual General Meeting, Sir Brian Stewart said: "Trading in the first four months of the year has been in line with our expectations for the Group as a whole. Whilst market conditions in the more developed markets, and in particular France, have been challenging this has been balanced by continuing business momentum in Russia.

The overall performance of the business and the benefits arising from our geographic scope and balance between more mature and faster growing markets gives us confidence that we should meet our financial and commercial objectives for 2005."