Reynolds American's 4Q profit falls 49 pct on higher costs, adjusted results meet expectations

MarketsAssociated Press

Cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc. says its fourth-quarter profit fell 49 percent on pension charges and other costs.

The nation's second-biggest tobacco company said Tuesday it earned $148 million, or 28 per share, in the period ended Dec. 31, compared with $292 million, or 54 cents per share, a year ago.

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Adjusted earnings were 87 cents per share, meeting Wall Street expectations, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Reynolds American said its revenue excluding excise taxes increased more than 5 percent to $2.13 billion on higher cigarette and smokeless tobacco prices.

The maker of Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes said the number of cigarettes sold by its R.J. Reynolds Tobacco subsidiary fell about 5 percent during the quarter to 14.9 billion, compared with an industry decline of 2 percent.

Volumes for Pall Mall fell about 5 percent and volumes for Camel fell less than one percent. The brands account for nearly 75 percent of the company's total cigarette volume.

Camel's market share increased 0.3 percentage points to 10.3 percent of the U.S. market, while Pall Mall's market share fell 0.2 percentage points to 9.3 percent.

The number of Natural American Spirit cigarettes it sold grew 14 percent to about 1.1 billion cigarettes.

Reynolds American and other tobacco companies are also focusing on cigarette alternatives such as snuff, chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes as tax hikes, smoking bans, health concerns and social stigma make the cigarette business tougher.

Volume for its smokeless tobacco brands including Grizzly and Kodiak fell 1 percent compared with a year ago. The brands had a 34.3 percent share of the U.S. retail market, though that market is tiny compared with cigarettes.

The company also said it has expanded distribution of its Vuse-brand electronic cigarette and added four new styles.

Reynolds American, based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said it expects full-year earnings in the range of $3.65 to $3.80 per share.

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Michael Felberbaum can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/MLFelberbaum .