Tag Archives: Altria
Last week Altria Group, parent company of the leading cigarette maker in the USA, Philip Morris, revealed its financial report for the third quarter of the year. The company reported revenue added 2.2% on the year-over-year basis, equaling $6.2 billion and significantly surpassing consensus estimates. Adjusted earnings grew by 3.2% to post $0.58 per share, nearly in-line with anticipated results.
The company had to pay a heavy charge of $874 million to settle early debt extinguishment, and in addition it benefited from inexpensive interest rates, releasing $1.9 billion of 2.85% unsecured notes to be paid in 2022 and further $900 million in 4.25% unsecured notes to be paid in 2042. Analysts believe the given capital could be directed to buy back shares, since the company approved a supplemental $500 million for its share buyback plan.
Although experts think Altria shares are valued at a fair basis, anti-smoking measures hinder possibly accretive spending on promotion and marketing, while according to experts, dividends and share repurchase are the best way for Altria to provide shareholder value.
A downturn in global business activity is hurting U.S.-based companies, which are reporting the worst business results throughout the last decade. Many leading companies have recently announced lower profits and reduced revenue expectations, and the slowdown in European Union is cited as a key reason for these forecasts. Among the business giants to issue warning estimates are FedEx, PMI and Pepsi.
This demonstrates that it might be wiser for analysts to underweight multinational companies, inclined to business activity in Europe. The stocks of the largest tobacco companies have also being hit by the latter scenario, which is prompting more experts to lower expectations from Philip Morris International, while raising Altria Group instead.
Currently many cigarette smokers are getting more interested in trying various tobacco products besides cigarettes, than previous generations of smokers, and Altria Group Inc, parent company of the largest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, is looking on their recently-launched products to lure customers who are open to new products, according to the company.
The corporation, best-known for marketing the iconic Marlboro cigarettes, as well supported its profit forecast, published in January.
Altria, which also markets Copehnagen and Scoal smoke-free tobacco products and Black & Mild cigars, has witnessed a change in tobacco consumption patterns in the USA. Whereas the rate of cigar and cigarette smokers has been virtually unchanged, the consumption of smokeless tobacco has been growing.
Nevertheless, Marlboro – with roughly 42 percent share of the U.S. cigarette market – remains the leading brand in the group’s portfolio.
At the same time, many smokers have admitted to be trying new “reduced-risk” tobacco products, like snus and other smoke-free tobacco, due to health growing concerns and social stigma.
On the threshold of the annual financial report, presented by Altria Group, owner of Philip Morris USA, leading industry analysts forecast its performance during the fourth quarter of the year, basing on its Q3 results.
Since adult Americans reduce their expenses on tobacco products, due to growing taxes, and increasing social stigma on smoking, the largest cigarette maker in the United States reported drop in shipping volumes, but confirmed it still managed to obtain revenue growth through increase of organic cigarette prices during its earning conference pre-call.
Industry experts predicted that the company’s leading brand, Marlboro could retain its market share, thanks to the recently introduced Marlboro Leadership Price, though the brand has lost 1% of market share in the previous quarter, totaling 41.7% of the US cigarette market. In addition, the market share of its other key brands, including Parliament and Virginia Slims, went down as well.
The drops in Marlboro market share affected the overall number of cigarettes sold by the company during the quarter, which dropped by 9% to equal 33.3 billion cigarettes versus the same period a year before. Yet, Philip Morris USA’s discount cigarette brands, including L&M were up by 9.5%.
Philip Morris USA, Reynolds American and Lorillard are set to increase prices on their cigarette brands.
After Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris announced its cigarette price increase two weeks ago, its main rivals, Reynolds American and Lorillard admitted to follow the trend, approving five-cent price hike.
David Howard, senior communications manager at Reynolds American, said that the price hike would affect the company’s flagship brands, Pall Mall and Camel, and the support brands, including Winston, Kool, Salem and others. The price increase took into force last week.
He mentioned that the latest price change is a list-price rise intended to the cigarette-maker wholesale customers. Howard admitted that the company does not comment on retail prices, as they are set by the wholesalers.