Altria Group Earnings: Company Beats, Stock Up in Smoke

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO) reported higher profit for the first quarter as revenue showed growth. Altria Group Inc. manufactures and sells cigarettes and tobacco products as well as maintaining a portfolio of leveraged and direct finance leases.

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Altria Group Earnings Cheat Sheet for the First Quarter

Results: Net income for the cigarette company rose to $938 million (45 cents/share) vs. $813 million (39 cents/share) YoY. A rise of 15.4% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 42.8% to $5.64 billion YoY.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: MO beat the mean analyst estimate of 44 cents/share. Estimates ranged from 43 cents per share to 45 cents per share.

Quoting Management: “Altria delivered solid financial results in the first quarter as our businesses navigated through high unemployment, low consumer confidence and a competitive business environment,” said Michael E. Szymanczyk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Altria. “As we anticipated, adjusted EPS growth comparisons for the first quarter were challenging, but our results exceeded our initial expectations and give us confidence in our belief that we can achieve adjusted diluted EPS growth within our forecasted range for the year.”

Key Stats:

The company has now seen net income rise in three-straight quarters. In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, net income rose 26.8% and in the third quarter of the last fiscal year, the figure rose 28.2%.

Gross margins grew 13.9 percentage points to 68.2%. The growth seemed to be driven by increased revenue, as the figure rose 42.8% from the year earlier quarter while costs fell 0.5%.

Over the last five quarters, revenue has fallen an average of 3.4% year over year. The biggest drop came in the second quarter of the last fiscal year, when revenue fell 35.4% from the year earlier quarter.

Competitors to Watch: Lorillard, Inc. (NYSE:LO), Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM), Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE:RAI), British American Tobacco (AMEX:BTI), and Vector Group Ltd. (NYSE:VGR).

Today’s Performance: Shares of MO are down 1%.

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