Philip Morris Parent Altria Turns to E-Cigarettes

By FOXBusiness

Tobacco company Altria Group (NYSE:MO) said Tuesday it plans to enter the market for electronic cigarettes this summer.

Altria will launch its first electronic cigarette through its Nu Mark subsidiary. Called MarkTen, the smokeless product will be sold in Indiana starting in August.

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Tobacco companies have begun to diversify beyond traditional cigarettes, with the industry under pressure from health concerns, smoking bans and tax hikes. Electronic cigarettes are powered by batteries and heat a liquid nicotine solution.

Richmond, Virginia-based Altria did not say whether it will expand the sale of electronic cigarettes beyond the test market.

The company said MarkTen is a disposable e-cigarette but can be reused using a battery recharging kit. It will be made in China and is expected to sell for about $9.50, Altria added.

The company also raised its 2013 guidance by a penny to per-share earnings of $2.50 to $2.56. Its outlook for adjusted earnings remained at $2.35 to $2.41.

Shares fell 15 cents to $36.08 Tuesday morning.