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Marlboro maker Altria sees net profit triple in Q2


Marlboro cigarettes.


Joe Raedle

Despite smoking bans, higher taxes and an economic downturn, cigarette companies are still finding ways to make more money.

Altria, the largest tobacco seller in the United States, said today its net profit tripled in the second quarter after it hiked prices for its cigarettes and sold more smokeless products such as Copenhagen and Skoal.

The maker of Marlboro and other cigarette brands posted net income of $1.23 billion, or 60 cents per share, for the three months through June, the Financial Times reported.

That compares with $444 million, or 21 cents a share, for the same period last year when it was slugged with a $627 million tax-related charge.

According to the Associated Press, adjusted earnings were 59 cents a share, beating analyst expectations of 57 cents.

"Innovation continues to contribute to the strong business results of our tobacco companies," Altria chief executive Marty Barrington said in a statement.

Revenue – minus excise taxes – rose about 14 percent to $4.6 billion. 

Smokeless product sales rose 7.6 percent year-on-year, while cigarette and cigar sale volumes increased by 0.1 percent.

Altria’s Philip Morris USA business bumped prices on all cigarette brands by six cents a pack in June, the third increase in the past year, Bloomberg reported.

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