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Philip Morris Beats Fourth-Quarter Expectations - Slips on Guidance

Philip Morris beats Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings expectations but comes up short on full-year guidance.

Philip Morris (PM) - Get Philip Morris International Inc. Report, producer of Marlboro, Chesterfield, and other cigarette brands, beat Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings expectations but came up short on full-year guidance.

The shares at last check were up 1.2% to $84.94.

The tobacco giant reported earnings of $1.62 billion, or $1.04 a share, compared with $1.91 billion, or $1.23 a share, in the year-earlier period. The latest adjusted earnings came to $1.22, beating the consensus forecast of $1.21 a share from a FactSet survey. 

Revenue increased 2.9% to $7.71 billion, ahead Wall Street's call for $7.66 billion.

Philip Morris Q4 Earnings graphic

"We continue to make significant progress in the transformation of our business," CEO André Calantzopoulos said in a statement. 

Smoke-free products now account for 8% of shipment volume and nearly one-fifth of net revenue, he said. The company's efforts further demonstrate its "ability to maintain combustible tobacco leadership internationally, as evidenced by Marlboro’s full-year cigarette share of 10% -- an all-time high."

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Looking ahead, Philip Morris said it was expecting full-year adjusted earnings of $5.50 a share, short of Wall Street's call for $5.60.

"Although we anticipate a few temporary headwinds, notably in Indonesia, we enter 2020 with favorable momentum," Calantzopoulos said. 

Philip Morris expects "to deliver like-for-like currency-neutral net revenue and adjusted diluted earnings-per-share growth this year consistent with our 2019 to 2021 compound annual growth targets of at least 5% and 8%, as well as further margin expansion."

Last month, Philip Morris said it had reached an agreement with KT&G in South Korea to distribute vape products outside the country.

"This collaboration serves to accelerate the achievement of PMI's vision of a smoke-free future, by offering adult smokers a broader choice of smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes," the company said.

KT&G sells its electronic cigarettes under the brand Lil. Products include heat-not-burn tobacco systems, e-vapor products, and their hybrids.