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Altria(MO) is the quintessential "sin stock." The $70 billion firm is the largest tobacco company in the U.S., led by its crown jewel Marlboro brand. Altria's other businesses include cigars and smokeless tobacco, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and a massive stake in
SABMiller(SBMRY). And like you'd expect from any good sin stock, the firm pays out a mammoth dividend right now, weighing in at just over 5%.
Let's face facts: Altria's business is dying slowly. Demand for tobacco products in the U.S. has been dropping over the last couple of decades, and Altria long ago spun off its growth prospects in
Phillip Morris International(PM). But the key word is that demand is dying
slowly; cigarette volumes should see slips in the mid-single digits for the next few years.
In the mean time, the firm generates massive cash flows, and it pays out a huge chunk of those cash flows in the form of dividends. With sales declines already priced into shares, MO could surprise some investors in 2013.
And while the firm's biggest business is in decline, its side businesses are in growth mode right now. Take Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and MO's 27% stake in SABMiller. The alcoholic beverage market is hot right now, and that should remain the case. With Miller alone making up around $7 per share for MO, a material chunk of the firm's balance sheet enjoys reduced risk.
For income investors, this sin stock might be worth a second look.
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