CAST-iron cooker maker AGA Rangemaster has seen its shares rise 8.7% after reporting a hike in operating profits.

The group behind the distinctive AGA ovens said an improving housing market helped ooperating profits reach £8.2 million in 2013, an increase of 26.2% on a year earlier.

At a pre-tax level profits fell from £1.7m to £1.1m after a number of one-off charges plus pension and financing costs. Sales of AGA cookers were up 10% for the year, having been down 2% at the half year stage.

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There was also a sharp shift towards electric cooker models, which represented 70% of sales.

Revenue increased 2.4% from £244.6m to £250.4m thanks to an improvement in sales in the second six months of the year.

Shares closed up 15p at 188p.