Ecco Altria, anche per essa i risultati sembrano buoni, quando posso metto approfondimento sulle trimestrali!
Altria Profit Beats Analyst Estimates on Marlboros
Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Altria Group Inc., the largest U.S. tobacco company, said third-quarter profit adjusted for the spinoff of its overseas unit rose more than analysts' estimates on higher prices for cigarettes including top-selling Marlboro.
Earnings per share from continuing operations advanced to 46 cents a share from 40 cents a year earlier, the Richmond, Virginia-based maker of Parliament and Virginia Slims cigarettes said today. It affirmed its earlier 2008 profit forecast.
Marlboro boosted both prices and its market share, signaling Altria can bolster earnings by charging America's shrinking pool of smokers more as consumer spending slows. Chief Executive Officer Michael Szymanczyk, who took charge in March after the spinoff of the international unit, said he expects a ``difficult economic environment'' in 2009, and plans to speed up cost cuts.
Investors see Altria ``holding market share with sufficient pricing,'' Thomas Russo, who manages about $3 billion at Gardner Russo & Gardner, said today in a telephone interview. The Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based firm held 6 million Altria shares through June. ``There's more room for cost savings.''
Eleven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg estimated average profit of 44 cents a share. Altria recorded costs of 4 cents related to asset impairments at SABMiller Plc, of which it owns 28.5 percent, and other integration charges.
Altria reiterated its full-year profit forecast of $1.63 to $1.67 a share. Analysts project $1.66.
Revenue advanced 5 percent to $5.24 billion in the quarter.
Net income dropped 67 percent to $867 million, or 42 cents, from $2.63 billion, or $1.25, a year earlier, when results included its overseas cigarette business.
Altria's cigarette shipments dropped 4.8 percent to 44.9 billion cigarettes, faster than estimated by Judy Hong, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst in New York. She projected a decline of 4.5 percent.
Marlboro shipments slipped 3.9 percent to 37.5 million cigarettes in the quarter. The brand's share of U.S. smokers increased by half a percentage point to 41.6 percent. Altria's overall U.S. cigarette-market share declined 0.1 percentage point to 50.5 percent.
Altria, which makes one of every two cigarettes sold in the U.S., is now dependent on the domestic market after the March 28 spinoff of its international division sent two-thirds of profit overseas.
The former unit, New York-based Philip Morris International Inc., reported yesterday that earnings increased 21 percent to $2.08 billion after the company raised prices and sold more cigarettes in Russia, Indonesia and other developing markets.
Altria rose 29 cents to $19.58 at 4:01 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have dropped 14 percent since the overseas unit's spinoff.
As Americans smoke less, Szymanczyk, 59, is moving into the $3.7 billion-a-year snuff market with plans to buy UST, the maker of top-selling Skoal and Copenhagen. Altria is also trying to develop smokeless-tobacco varieties of Marlboro to appeal to smokers.
U.S. consumers smoked an estimated 360 billion cigarettes last year, down 3.2 percent from 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Consumption has fallen 31 percent since 1990 as New York City and state and other city governments have restricted smoking.
Generating profit from UST may take longer than Altria anticipated because of rising costs to borrow money. The company expects the transaction to close by Jan. 7.
Altria said it's ``difficult to predict'' whether the acquisition will contribute to per-share earnings in the year following the takeover. It cited ``conditions in the public debt markets'' as it seeks to complete long-term financing amid a global credit freeze spurred by the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. almost six weeks ago.
Altria plans to accelerate its integration of UST, Szymanczyk told analysts, after the company estimated the combination would save $250 million a year by 2011. The company may also cut more costs than the $1 billion planned earlier.
``Cost is an important issue,'' Szymanczyk said on a conference call. ``Our objective is to get more costs out of the system than we had originally anticipated. We want to get all of that done in 2009.''
Among the $1 billion in cost cuts through 2011, Altria plans to close a North Carolina cigarette factory and shift production to Richmond.
In May, Altria cut its distributors' discount on Marlboro, Basic and L&M cigarettes by 9 cents a pack while eliminating the discount of 20 cents on Parliament. It implemented a price increase of 9 cents a pack on Virginia Slims and Altria's remaining brands.
``Higher prices on top of cost savings are driving Altria,'' Rick Jones, an analyst at NCM Capital Management Group, said in an Oct. 20 interview. The Durham, North Carolina- based firm holds Altria among $2.5 billion in assets.