Philip Morris Int'l cuts earnings forecast

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NEW YORK (AP) — Philip Morris International Inc., the seller of Marlboro cigarettes overseas, cut its full-year earnings forecast Thursday as it deals with currency fluctuations, economic difficulties in the European Union and Asia and some discounted prices in Australia.

The company, based in New York and Lausanne, Switzerland, now foresees full-year earnings between $4.87 and $4.97 per share. Its previous forecast was for $5.09 to $5.19 per share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet anticipate earnings of $5.18 per share.

CEO André Calantzopoulos said in a statement that if Philip Morris International continues to see price discounting at the low end of the Australian market, it may have to reduce the lower end of its outlook for 2014 adjusted earnings per share growth of 6 percent to 8 percent.

Philip Morris International is also planning to end cigarette production at its plant in Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands, by Sept. 1. The company said the factory closing will likely result in a pretax charge of about 24 cents per share. It expects the majority of the charge to be recorded in the second quarter.

The cigarette marker is also stopping cigarette production in Australia by year's end, which is expected to result in a charge of a penny per share in the first quarter.

In addition, the company announced it purchased U.K.-based e-cigarette maker Nicocigs Ltd. Financial terms were not disclosed. The company said that the deal won't materially affect its 2014 financial position.

Shares of Philip Morris International fell $1.09 to $87.80 in premarket trading.

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