Philip Morris Sees Normal Japanese Cigarette Volume Despite Disaster

Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM) does not believe the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan will have "material negative impact" on its 2011 results.

The New York City-based cigarette maker said four of its 28 third-party distribution centers representing 12% of Japan’s total annual cigarette sales last year are currently closed due to unspecific structural change.

Two of those facilities, however, are expected to resume operations this week. Alternative distribution arrangements will soon be  made for the remaining two centers. Distribution in the unaffected areas continues normally, the company said.

All of Philip Morris’ cigarette volume for the Japanese market is produced outside the country. Shipments at ports in the country are being unloaded normally.

Philip Morris, operating under brands such as Marlboro, Parliament and Virginia Slims, said it does not expect the recent events in Japan to have an effect on its previously announced industry volume expectation, or have an impact on its overall profitability in the country.

While the company’s Tokyo headquarters temporarily shut, it reopened on March 24 and no material damages were reported. All staff in the country have been accounted for and are safe.