R.J. Reynolds Tobacco


said Thursday that it beat Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings estimates, as strong performances by its Camel, Doral and Winston cigarette brands helped boost the bottom line.

R.J. Reynolds said it earned $100 million, or 99 cents a share, up from $85 million, or 79 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Eight analysts polled by

First Call Thomson Financial

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were calling for the company to earn 96 cents in the quarter.

Net sales totaled $2.04 billion, up from $1.98 billion in the same period a year earlier.

For the first quarter, R.J. Reynolds expects shipment volumes to fall 3% to 5%, with income of $95 million to $100 million, or 95 cents to $1 a share. The First Call consensus estimate is 91 cents for the period. The company projected earnings of $440 million to $460 million, or $4.50 to $4.70 a share, for 2001. Analysts are expecting the company to earn $4.51 for the year.

Shares of R.J. Reynolds gained $1.56, or 3.1%, to $52.81 in recent

New York Stock Exchange