Altria Group Inc. (MO) reported revenue and earnings in line with consensus estimates for the fourth quarter of 2018. Shares were up 1% in morning trade on Thursday.
Net revenues remained flat at $6.1 billion. Revenues, net of excise taxes, grew 1.5% to $4.8 billion. Net income dropped 75% to $1.25 billion, or $0.66 per share, mainly due to lower income taxes in 2017, resulting from tax reform benefits, as well as higher asset impairment and acquisition-related costs in 2018. Adjusted EPS grew 4.4% to $0.95.
Net revenues in Smokeable products saw a slight increase of 0.4% as higher pricing and lower promotional investments were offset by lower shipment volume. Revenues net of excise taxes rose 1.9%. Net revenues in Smokeless products dropped 0.5%, mainly due to lower shipment volume, while revenues, net of excise taxes, fell 0.2%.
In Smokeable products, domestic cigarette shipment volume fell 4.4%, on a reported basis, mainly due to the industry’s rate of decline and retail share losses. On an adjusted basis, volumes fell by around 5.5%. In Smokeless products, reported domestic shipment volume dropped 1.9%, primarily driven by the industry’s rate of decline. On an adjusted basis, shipment volume fell around 2%.
In the Wine segment, net revenues decreased 11%, mainly due to lower shipment volume, partially offset by favorable premium mix.
For full-year 2019, Altria expects adjusted EPS to grow 4-7% from 2018 to a range of $4.15 to $4.27. The company expects the total domestic cigarette industry volume to decline 3.5% to 5%. For the year, capital expenditures are expected to range between $225 million and $275 million.
During the quarter, Altria 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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