Reynolds American Inc. reported Thursday a fourth-quarter profit that rose to $279 million, or 19 cents a share, from $148 million, or 14 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to 48 cents, below the FactSet consensus of 50 cents. Revenue rose 43% to $3.05 billion, matching the FactSet consensus, as domestic cigarette volume increased 34%. The company expects 2016 adjusted EPS of $2.25 to $2.35, surrounding the FactSet consensus of $2.33. Reynolds said it approved a 17% increase in its quarterly dividend to 42 cents a share from 36 cents a share. The new dividend will be payable April 1 to shareholders of record on March 10. "Each of our operating companies delivered excellent results both in the quarter and for the full year," said Chief Executive Susan Cameron. "VUSE remains the vapor category leader, and we expect the brand's lineup of exciting new formats to generate even more interest from adult tobacco consumers this year." The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has gained 5.5% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has dropped 11%.
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