News Summary: Marlboro maker Altria 4Q profit down


THE RESULTS: Altria Group Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit dropped 56 percent to $488 million as the Marlboro maker sold fewer cigarettes and recorded charges related to paying off debt early. Revenue, excluding excise taxes, fell 1 percent to $4.4 billion.

CIGARETTES: Volumes fell about 6 percent to 31.8 billion cigarettes. Adjusting for trade inventory changes, cigarette volumes fell 4 percent, on par with the total industry decline. Marlboro volumes fell 5.7 percent but its share of the U.S. market rose 0.2 percentage points to 43.7 percent.

SMOKELESS TOBACCO: Volumes of its smokeless tobacco brands such as Copenhagen and Skoal fell 4.3 percent. Adjusted volumes grew about 5 percent and its smokeless tobacco brands had about 55 percent of the market, though smokeless tobacco is a tiny market compared with cigarettes.

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