(By Balachander) Marlboro cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc.
) reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings as higher volumes from the EEMA region boosted revenue.
Adjusted earnings per share (EPS), excluding currency, increased 16 percent to $1.24, topping market expectations of $1.22. Net earnings attributable to PMI rose 11 percent to $2.09 billion.
Net revenue, excluding excise taxes on products, grew 2.8 percent to $7.9 billion, while Wall Street projected an increase of 4.70 percent.
Excluding currency, revenue at Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa (EEMA) and Latin America & Canada rose 11.3 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively. Revenue from European Union (EU) edged 0.5 percent lower, while Asia revenue gained 8.1 percent.
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New York-based PMI's cigarette shipment volume went up 2.9 percent, excluding acquisitions. Shipment volume increased 7.1 percent and 5.7 percent at EEMA and Asia, while other regions registered a drop.
Marlboro shipments grew 1.2 percent to 75.4 billion units for the fourth quarter reflecting growth in EEMA of 3.2 percent and Asia of 5.6 percent.
Looking ahead for the full year, the company forecasts reported EPS in the range of $5.68 to $5.78. Excluding a forecasted total unfavorable currency impact of roughly 6 cents, reported EPS are projected to increase by around 10 percent to 12 percent. Analysts expect EPS of $5.79.
PM shares, which have been trading between $77.07 and $94.13 over the past year, traded 0.72 percent higher at $88.29 on Thursday.