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Altria More Than Doubles 3Q Profit as Cigarette Sales Boom


Marlboro cigarette maker Altria (MO) more than doubled its profit during the third quarter as sales of tobacco products improved, however it only backed -- not raised -- its full-year outlook.

The Richmond, Va.-based company reported net earnings of $722 million, or 70 cents, compared with a year-earlier $386 million, or 32 cents.

Excluding one-time items, earnings per share were 65 cents, topping average analyst estimates by a penny, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue for the three months ended last month were up 3.4% to $5.8 billion from $5.6 billion a year ago, widely trumping the Street’s view of $4.5 billion.

"During both the quarter and the first nine months, our strategies and diverse business model continued to produce strong results," Altria CEO Marty Barrington said in a statement. “Our businesses are on-track against their full-year plans.”

However, its shares dipped into the red despite a broader market rally Thursday morning, suggesting investors were disappointed the company did not raise its full-year outlook.

Altria continues to see fiscal 2013 non-GAAP earnings of between $2.36 and $2.41 a share, representing a year-over-year growth rate of 7% to 9%, in-line with the consensus view of $2.39 a share.

Follow Jennifer Booton on Twitter at @Jbooton