Philip Morris International
, the cigarette seller that was recently spun off from
, topped analysts' estimates for the quarter in which it became an independent company.
For the quarter ended March 31, the company earned $1.87 billion, or 89 cents a share, up from $1.45 billion and 69 cents a share a year earlier. Net revenue rose 17.6% to $15.56 billion. Excluding excise taxes, revenue was up 14.1% to $6.33 billion.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for earnings of 77 cents and revenue, before excise taxes, of $6.15 billion.
Cigarette shipment volume was up 2.2% for the quarter to 217.9 billion units.
"Our robust first-quarter results are a terrific start out of the gate," said Louis Camilleri, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Importantly, we continue to witness an improvement in our business fundamentals as evidenced by the double-digit revenue and income growth recorded in each of our geographic segments. While we continue to face some challenges in certain markets, I am confident that we have the appropriate strategies and resources in place to deal with them effectively."
Looking ahead, Philip Morris increased its full-year earnings forecast to a range of $3.18 to $3.24 a share. Previously, it expected $3.11 to $3.17. Analysts are projecting $3.20.
Separately, the company said it has reached an agreement to acquire certain brands from
Imperial Tobacco Group
( ITY) in a deal valued at 254 million euros ($404 million). Philip Morris said the acquisition should boost its full-year profit by about 1 cent.
Philip Morris shares were rising 3.7% to $51.92, and Altria was up 1.6% at $22.41.
Elsewhere in the tobacco group,
was up 0.8%, while
( LTR), the owner of Lorillard, was unchanged.
British American Tobacco
was tacking on 0.3%.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.