posted second-quarter earnings that were slightly ahead of estimates, but revenue for the quarter declined, reflecting the company's sale last year of beermaker Miller Brewing.
Second-quarter earnings fell to $2.44 billion, or $1.20 a share, including charges of 6 cents a share. A year ago, the company earned $2.61 billion, or $1.21 a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected earnings of $1.19.
Net revenue decreased 1.3% to $20.83 billion from $21.10 billion, primarily because of the sale of Miller's assets. That transaction meant no beer revenue in 2003, compared with $1.4 billion in beer sales in the second quarter of 2002.
Altria also reported a $383 million drop in net revenue from the domestic tobacco business, which was partially offset by higher sales from the food and international tobacco businesses. Favorable foreign currency rates increased revenue by $926 million.
Philip Morris USA, the company's domestic tobacco business, saw operating companies income fall 30.3% to $1 billion as a result of higher promotional spending, charges from a tobacco growers' settlement and costs for moving the unit's headquarters. Shipment volume rose 4.1% in the second quarter.
Altria defines operating companies income as operating income before corporate expenses and amortization of intangibles.
Operating companies income for Philip Morris International climbed 14.3% from last year to $1.6 billion, thanks to favorable currency rates, volume gains and higher pricing. Shipment volume increased 1%.
"In a global economic environment that continued to be difficult, results for our tobacco operating companies were fundamentally robust," Louis Camilleri, chairman and chief executive of Altria, said in a press release. "Our domestic tobacco business demonstrated continued resilience in both volume and share. Our international tobacco business delivered strong operating companies income growth, aided by favorable currency and widespread share gains, although volume growth was mitigated by difficult conditions affecting performance in Italy and worldwide duty free."
Altria projected full-year earnings of $4.50 to $4.60 a share, including 8 cents of charges. Analysts are looking for a profit of $4.63 a share.