Consumer Products

Solid Earnings and Guidance Pull Altria Up

Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) reported its third-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Thursday. The company had $0.75 in earnings per share (EPS) on $4.98 billion in revenue, which compares to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates of $0.75 in EPS on revenue of $4.90 billion. The same period from the previous year had $0.69 in EPS on $4.75 billion in revenue.

The company reaffirmed its guidance for the 2015 full year EPS to be in the range of $2.76 to $2.81, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.82 in EPS.

On the books, cash and cash equivalents totaled $1.91 billion at the end of the third quarter, compared to $3.32 billion at the end of December 2014.

In terms of its segments, Altria reported:

  • The smokeable products segment’s net revenues increased 3.1% in the third quarter of 2015, primarily driven by higher pricing, partially offset by higher promotional investments.
  • The smokeless products segment’s net revenues increased 3.4% in the third quarter, primarily driven by higher pricing, partially offset by higher promotional investments.
  • In the wine segment, Ste. Michelle grew net revenues in the third quarter of 2015 by 8.5%, primarily due to increased shipments and improved premium mix.

ALSO READ: The 10 Most Profitable Companies in the World

Marty Barrington, Altria’s chairman, CEO and president, commented on earnings:

Altria continued to deliver outstanding performance in the third quarter and for the first nine months. Once again, our businesses strengthened their market leadership, with strong income growth and solid retail share gains by the iconic Marlboro and Copenhagen brands. We believe our year-to-date adjusted EPS growth of 11.5% positions us well to deliver on our full-year plans. In addition, we’re pleased Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller continue to work together to finalize terms in advance of their possible combination. We see this transaction, and our participation in it as SABMiller’s largest shareholder, as a compelling opportunity to strengthen for our shareholders our position in the global brewing business.

Shares of Altria closed Wednesday up 0.6% at $61.44, with a consensus analyst price target of $61.29 and a 52-week trading range of $47.09 to $61.58. Following the release of the earnings report, shares were initially up 1.1% at $62.10.