Altria (MO) Smokes Competition, Chews Up Q4 Expectations, Drinks to Celebrate

January 27, 2012 9:15 AM
Altria Group (NYSE: MO) shares are smokin'...er, stronger...Friday morning following its fourth-quarter results.

Quarterly revenue for the tobacco giant rose 3.4 percent from $5.927 billion during the same quarter last year to $6.129 billion, beating expectations calling for $4.23 billion.

Net income compressed 9 percent to $836 million, or 41 cents per share. Excluding items related to asset impairment charges, litigation, and SABMiller special items, and earnings were a more robust 50 cents per share, beating views calling for 49 cents per share.

Costs of sales outpaced revenue gains, with a 4.6 percent jump to $1.972 billion in the period.

Notably, cigarette volumes remained largely flat. Shipments of Marlboro fell 0.6 percent and other premium was down 7.2 percent, while discount smokes saw a 19.7 percent increase in shipments. Marlboro unquestionably is still top fog in the Cigarettes segment, with 29.0 billion shipped.

Annual shipments fell 4 percent to 135.1 billion.

Smokeless product revs rose 6.6 percent to $418 billion, while shipment volumes increased 9.7 percent overall. Black& Mild cigars saw a 5.6 percent slip in shipments.

Wine revs rose 10.6 percent, with a 10.9 percent increase in volume.

Shares of Altria are about 1 percent higher.

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