RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Philip Morris International Inc. said Thursday its fourth-quarter profit dropped 5 percent as cigarette sales fell in most of its markets despite commanding higher prices.
The seller of Marlboro and other cigarette brands overseas also was hurt by foreign exchange rates for the U.S. dollar, but it adjusted results were in line with Wall Street expectations.
Smokers face tax increases, bans, health concerns and social stigma worldwide, but the effect of those on cigarette demand generally is less stark outside the United States. Philip Morris International has compensated for volume declines by raising prices and cutting costs.
The company earned $1.99 billion, or $1.24 per share, in the period ended Dec. 31, down from $2.1 billion, or $1.25 per share, the year before.
On an adjusted basis, it earned $1.37 per share, beating Wall Street estimates by a penny, according to FactSet.
Excluding excise taxes, revenue fell about 1 percent to $7.8 billion, matching analysts' prediction.
It shares rose $1.67, or about 2 percent, to $78.57 in morning trading.
Cigarette shipments fell about 4 percent to 223.2 billion cigarettes. Total Marlboro volumes fell nearly 1 percent to 74.8 billion cigarettes.
Economic woes in the European Union and increased excise taxes drove shipments down about 5 percent during the quarter. Shipments fell 1.2 percent in the company's region that encompasses Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Shipments grew 4 percent in Latin America and Canada.