Shares of Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) fell 2.5% during pre-market trading on Thursday after the tobacco company reported an earnings miss. Adjusted EPS fell 5.3% to $0.90, hurt by higher interest expense as a result of its recently issued debt. This missed the street projection by 2 cents.
On a reported basis, net income dropped 40% $0.60 per share.
Net revenues fell 6% to $4.39 billion, missing analysts’ projection of $4.55 billion.
Net revenues in Smokeable products decreased 8.8%, while that from Smokeless products increased 2.9% during the quarter. Marlboro retail share declined 0.2 share points to 43.1% year-over-year.
In the Wine segment, net revenues rose 6.3%, as wine shipment volume jumped 8% to approximately 1.9 million cases.
For full-year 2019, Altria reaffirmed its projection of adjusted EPS growth of 4-7% to a range of $4.15 to $4.27. Meanwhile, the company revised its expectation for total domestic cigarette industry volume. It now expects the volume to decline 4-5% as it believes increased gas prices have impacted adult tobacco consumer behavior.
CEO Howard Willard said, “After taking steps to position Altria for long-term success at the end of 2018, we entered 2019 with an evolved business platform that includes our strong core tobacco businesses and new strategic investments with tremendous potential for growth.”
Last quarter, Altria had acquired stakes in cannabinoid company Cronos Group (CRON) and vaping company JUUL (JUUL). The company took a 45% stake in Cronos for around $1.8 billion and a 35% stake in JUUL for $12.8 billion.
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