Altria sees net income grow; raises full-year earnings guidance

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The owner of the country’s largest cigarette maker saw increased earnings for the second quarter. Richmond-based Altria Group Inc. said reported diluted earnings per share rose 2 percent, from 49 to 50 cents, when compared to the same period last year.  Total earnings for the quarter increased from $1.01 billion to $1.04 billion.

The news was also good for the half-year mark with the owner of Phillip Morris USA reporting an increase of 15.6 percent to 89 cents per share for the first six months versus the prior year period.

“Our adjusted 2010 first-half earnings per share grew, driven by solid income growth across our tobacco and wine businesses. Primarily because of our solid first-half performance, Altria is increasing its guidance for its 2010 full-year reported and adjusted earnings per share,” Chairman and CEO Michael E. Szymanczyk said in a statement.

The outlook from continuing operations was raised to a range of $1.87 to $1.91 per share.

Other highlights from the report: 
• Marlboro achieved record retail share of 42.8 percent in the second quarter.
• The company saw cost savings of $129 million by cutting expenses and expects to see a total of $290 million in additional savings by year-end. 
• Net revenues for the cigarettes segment dropped 7.2 percent in the second quarter, primarily because of lower volume, while revenues were up 8 percent for the six-month period due to higher pricing. 

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