Altria Group (NYSE: MO) reported third-quarter net revenues of $6.85 billion, flat year-over-year, primarily driven by higher net revenues in the smokeless products segment. This was better than analysts’ consensus of $5.34 billion.
Earnings per share, excluding one-time items, jumped 10% to $1.19 in Q3, beating Wall Street prediction by 4 cents. The bottom-line beat was achieved as a results of lower spending and higher adjusted earnings from Altria’s equity investment in ABI.
MO shares were up over 1% immediately following the announcement. In the trailing six months, the stock has declined 15%.
Altria added that it recorded a non-cash pre-tax impairment charge of $4.5 billion during the quarter related to its investment in JUUL, in light of the increased likelihood of FDA action to remove flavored e-vapor products from the market. Altria has a 35% stake in popular e-cigratee maker JUUL.
The Malboro-maker reaffirmed its guidance for fiscal 2019. It expects adjusted diluted EPS to be in a range of $4.19 to $4.27, representing a growth rate of 5% to 7%. Meanwhile, the company replaced its long-term adjusted EPS growth projection of 7% to 9% with a compounded annual adjusted EPS growth objective of 5% to 8% for the years 2020 through 2022.
Though Altria and Philip Morris (NYSE: PM) had earlier proposed a merger of equals to create a tobacco mammoth, it was later called off considering the changing consumer trends. The recent vaping incidents and a negative report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prompted Philip Morris to pull out of the deal.
Both companies have, however, said they would work together on heated tobacco product IQOS.
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