Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI) saw its gains peter out and then melt away today. The news is that shareholder Brown & Williamson Holdings Inc. dumped more than $50 million worth of its equity holdings in the domestic tobacco giant. The Form 4 filings showed that some 630,660 shares were sold and then another filing showed that some 476,476 shares were sold. Before worrying that the tobacco insider is getting too nervous, keep in mind that the second Form 4 filing showed that some 235,859,633 shares of common stock are still beneficially held by Brown & Williamson and the filing also reminds that British American Tobacco PLC (NYSEMKT: BTI) is “the beneficial owner of such shares by virtue of its indirect ownership of all of the equity and voting power of B&W.”
Reynolds shares close down 1% at $45.80 on the day after trading as high as $46.49 and against a 52-week trading range of $35.65 to $46.93. It currently out-yields Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) but that is because we are awaiting an Altria dividend hike any day now (one of the 12 big dividends left between now and the end of the year) and Reynolds saw its dividend hiked at the last payout in June.
JON C. OGG