Altria Group's 1Q hurt by lower cigarette shipment volume

Markets Associated Press

Altria Group's first quarter was partly hampered by a product recall and lower cigarette shipment volume.

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Shares dropped more than 2 percent before the market open on Tuesday.

For the period ended March 31, the owner of Philip Morris USA earned $1.4 billion, or 72 cents per share. That compares with $1.22 billion, or 62 cents per share, a year ago.

Earnings, adjusted for one-time costs, were 73 cents per share, penny shy of what analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research had expected.

Revenue at the Richmond, Virginia, company edged up to $6.08 billion from $6.07 billion. Adjusted revenue was $4.59 billion.

Domestic cigarette shipment volume fell 2.7 percent. For the Marlboro brand, the figure declined 2.6 percent. It dropped 4.2 percent for other premium cigarettes and 3.1 percent for discount cigarettes.

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Altria said that in January the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. voluntarily recalled some smokeless tobacco products made at its Franklin Park, Illinois-based plant due to a product tampering incident. The recall has since been completed.

Altria Group Inc. still predicts full-year adjusted earnings in a range of $3.26 to $3.32 per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet are calling for earnings of $3.30 per share.

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

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