NEW YORK (AP) — Cigarette maker Reynolds American's fourth-quarter profit shot up 89 percent compared to the final quarter of 2014, when earnings fell due to some one-time costs.
The parent of Camel and Pall Mall cigarette maker R.J. Reynolds said Thursday that it earned $279 million in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That's up from $148 million a year ago when it booked pension charges and other costs ahead of last year's closing of its $25-billion takeover of Newport seller Lorillard Inc.
Results adjusted for one-time items totaled 48 cents per share in the most recent quarter, and revenue jumped 43 percent to $3.05 billion, spurred in part by the Lorillard deal.
FactSet says analysts expected, on average, earnings of 50 cents per share on $3.05 billion in revenue from the Winston Salem, North Carolina-based company.
Revenue from the company's R.J. Reynolds segment jumped 51 percent to $2.52 billion, helped by the addition of the Newport brand. American Snuff sales climbed about 12 percent to $226 million.
Tobacco companies have been focusing on cigarette alternatives such as snuff, chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes as tax hikes, smoking bans, health concerns and social stigma make the cigarette business tougher.
Reynolds American expects 2016 adjusted earnings to range between $2.25 and $2.35 per share. Analysts are looking for $2.33 per share.
The company also said Thursday that its board approved a nearly 17 percent increase in its quarterly cash dividend to 42 cents per share from 36 cents.
The new dividend will be payable on April 1 to shareholders of record on March 10.
Shares of Reynolds American Inc. slipped 24 cents to $47.22 in morning trading Thursday. Its shares are up 31 percent over the past year.