Altria aims to engage wide smokers

Smokers today are more open to trying different types of tobacco smokers than in previous generations, and Altria Group Inc is working on new products to entice consumers who want to change from cigarettes, the company said.

The company, best known for its, and stood on the profit forecast it gave in late January. Altria, whose other products include Skoal and Copenhagen smokeless tobacco, and black and mild cigars, there is a shift in the use of tobacco in the United States. While the number of smokers, both cigarettes and cigars remained relatively flat, the use of smokeless tobacco has increased. However, Marlboro - with 42 percent of the retail market in the cigarette industry - remains the dominant brand in the portfolio of Altria.

Some smokers try alternative products such as smokeless tobacco, amid concerns about the health risks of smoking.

Altria is recommended at the beginning of sales of its new brand of Marlboro Black, Vice-Chairman Dave Beran told analysts and investors at the annual Consumer Analyst Group of New York, or CAGNY, conference held in Boca Raton, Florida.

Black Marlboro, which Philip Morris, Altria unit in the United States began shipping in December, was more than 1 percent of the retail market earlier this month, said Beran, who is about to become president of Altria and chief operating officer in May.

The new product is what the company calls a bold, contemporary spin on the traditional brand, and is packaged in a black box for menthol and menthol varieties.

Marlboro brand was 42 per cent market share in 2011, compared to 42.6 percent in 2010. Marlboro is a best-selling cigarette in all U.S. states, but, like other cigarettes threatens to further reduce the number of American smokers.

Altria said that he did not see big changes in the structure of premium and discount brands.

There has been some volatility among price-sensitive buyers who are looking for suggestions and a shift between different brands of discounts, but consumers who buy premium products, as a rule, loyal, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mike Szymanczyk told reporters at the conference.

About 90 percent of smokers, Marlboro buy only that brand, according to a study of the company.

Altria also expects adjusted earnings to grow by 6 to 9 percent in 2012, ranging from $ 2.17 to $ 2.23 per share, executives said on Wednesday.

Analysts on average had expected Altria, to earn $ 2.20 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I / B / E / S.

Over time, Altria still aims to post average annual adjusted earnings per share growth of 7 percent to 9 percent dividend and issue that is growing in line with its adjusted earnings per share growth.

Szymanczyk said last month that he intends to resign in May, and will, as Chairman and CEO Marty Barrington.

Shares of Altria rose 0.3 percent to $ 29.71 Wednesday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange.

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