Philip Morris Second-Quarter Profit Tops Analysts’ Estimates

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Philip Morris International Inc., the world’s largest publicly traded tobacco company, posted second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates, helped by price increases and growth in eastern Europe.

Net income rose 1.9 percent to $1.89 billion, or $1.21 a share, from $1.85 billion, or $1.17, a year earlier, the New York-based maker of Marlboro cigarettes said Thursday in a statement. Excluding some items, profit was $1.21 a share, beating analysts’ $1.13 average estimate.

Consumer confidence is stable or rising in areas that have high smoking rates, such as the European Union and Indonesia, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Kenneth Shea and Diana Rosero-Pena. Cigarette manufacturers also have raised prices to compensate for the effects of a strong U.S. dollar.

“Improving pricing and volumes in Europe are very encouraging,” James Bushnell, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, said in a note Thursday.

Revenue in Philip Morris’s Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region rose 4.4 percent in the quarter, excluding the effects of exchange-rate fluctuations. Sales in the European Union gained 3.5 percent on that basis.

Philip Morris maintained its full-year forecast for profit $4.32 to $4.42 a share. Excluding some items, earnings-per-share growth will be toward the upper end of its forecast of a 9 to 11 percent gain, the company said.

The shares rose 3.2 percent to $85.29 at the close in New York. Philip Morris has gained 4.7 percent this year.