Altria reports boost in 3Q profit on higher prices

AP News
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Posted: Oct 29, 2015 10:17 AM
Altria reports boost in 3Q profit on higher prices

NEW YORK (AP) — Altria Group Inc. on Thursday reported a boost in third-quarter profit as higher tobacco product prices helped drive revenue.

The owner of Philip Morris USA, the nation's largest cigarette maker, reported a 9.4 percent profit rise to $1.53 billion, or 78 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, came to 75 cents per share. That fell just shy of Wall Street expectations, with four analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expecting 76 cents per share.

Meanwhile, revenue excluding excise taxes rose 4.7 percent to $4.98 billion.

The company said Marlboro cigarettes gained some market share to reach 43.9 percent. Philip Morris, overall, now has 51.3 percent of the market.

Richmond, Virginia-based Altria reaffirmed its full-year outlook for profit between $2.76 and $2.81 per share. It expects a strong U.S. dollar to continue impacting revenue.

Looking ahead, Altria has large stake in the developing Anheuser-Busch InBev buyout of rival SABMiller. Altria is SABMiller's largest shareholder and said the deal is "a compelling opportunity to strengthen" its position in the global brewing business.

AB InBev and SABMiller are currently working to finalize terms of the deal, which is worth more than $100 billion.

Shares of Altria fell 51 cents to $60.92 in morning trading Thursday.

Altria shares have climbed 25 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has increased 1.5 percent. The stock has climbed 29 percent in the last 12 months.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on MO at http://www.zacks.com/ap/MO

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Keywords: Altria, Earnings Report, Priority Earnings

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This story has been corrected to show revenue excluding excise taxes was $4.98 billion, rather than $4.36 billion.