Altria’s gains in the first quarter declined as revenue fell short of estimates as cigarette shipments continue to decline.
Cigarette controller Marlboro is shifting its business from traditional tobacco products and announced that it has acquired the remaining 20% of On, a nicotine product in bags.
The company’s shares rose less than 1% in pre-market trading.
Here’s what the company reported for the first quarter compared to what Wall Street expected, based on a survey of analysts at Refinitiv:
Net income decreased to $ 1.42 billion, or 77 cents per share, from $ 1.55 billion, or 83 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, Altria earned $ 1.07 per share, exceeding the $ 1.05 per share expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv.
Revenue fell 5.1%, to $ 6.04 billion, from $ 6.36 billion a year ago. However, after excluding excise duties, its revenue was $ 4.88 billion, which was less than $ 4.98 billion, analysts had expected.
Total cigarette shipments fell 12% year on year.
Altria once again lowered the value of its Juul vaporization brand.
“Against a challenging comparison, our tobacco businesses performed well in the first quarter and we continue to make progress in advancing our non-fuel portfolio,” said Billy Gifford, chief executive of Altria, in a press release.
The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates tobacco products in the U.S., may be approaching the ban on menthol cigarettes as early as this week, after years of deliberation. Menthol cigarettes are often used disproportionately by people of color. The vast majority of black smokers use mentholated cigarettes, and black men have the highest lung cancer death rates in the United States.
In addition, the Biden government announced last week that it is considering putting a limit on nicotine levels in cigarettes. If that policy is followed, tobacco companies are likely to challenge it.
Altria previously sent a letter to the FDA asking them to spread the word that nicotine, the addictive ingredient in cigarettes, does not cause cancer. The company said it would help smokers transition to potentially less risky non-fuel options, such as heated tobacco stick Iqos and the nicotine bag On.