Altria: Earnings fall as US smokes less

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Altria Group reported second-quarter profit yesterday that trailed analysts’ estimates as cigarette shipments declined in the US, the country’s largest seller of tobacco said yesterday. Net income fell to $1.26 billion (R13.4bn) from $1.27bn a year earlier as revenue rose 1 percent to $4.57bn. Profit excluding some items was 65c a share. Nine analysts had estimated 66c. Altria raised prices in May and has been cutting costs to offset anti-smoking trends that have depressed sales. Altria faces stiff rivalry after Reynolds American agreed to buy rival Lorillard for $25bn, bringing Newport and Camel brands under one roof to take on the Marlboro maker. – Bloomberg

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