Philip Morris Accelerates N.C. Plant Closing

Philip Morris has sped up the closing of a plant in North Carolina in response to 'ongoing cigarette volume declines.'
Author:
Publish date:

Philip Morris said Wednesday it is hastening the closing a plant in North Carolina in response to "ongoing cigarette volume declines."

About 1,100 people will lose their jobs this summer as a result of the closing in Cabarrus County, which Philip Morris first announced two years ago.

Altria Group

(MO) - Get Report

, which owns Philip Morris, on Wednesday reported a drop in profit that nonetheless beat Wall Street's expectations. Cigarette sales slipping 8% in the first quarter, and profit including one-time expenses dropped 76%. Earnings excluding one-time expenses were 39 cents per share, 4% lower than earnings from the first quarter of 2008.

var config = new Array(); config<BRACKET>"videoId"</BRACKET> = 20029643001; config<BRACKET>"playerTag"</BRACKET> = "TSCM Embedded Video Player"; config<BRACKET>"autoStart"</BRACKET> = false; config<BRACKET>"preloadBackColor"</BRACKET> = "#FFFFFF"; config<BRACKET>"useOverlayMenu"</BRACKET> = "false"; config<BRACKET>"width"</BRACKET> = 265; config<BRACKET>"height"</BRACKET> = 255; config<BRACKET>"playerId"</BRACKET> = 1243645856; createExperience(config, 8);

Altria shares ended Wednesday trading up 0.7% to $16.85. Competitors

British American Tobacco

(BTI) - Get Report

and

Reynolds American

(RAI)

closed down 1.5% to $46 and 1.1% to $39.09, respectively.

Philip Morris International

(PM) - Get Report

, which Altria agreed to spin off in January 2008, reports its quarterly earnings Thursday.

Tobacco companies raised cigarette prices by 11% in March, according to Labor Department data, to help offset a tax increase put into effect in April. The tax, which increased to $1.01 per pack from 39 cents per pack, will be used to fund expansion of a children's health insurance program.