Altria is the new name, adopted in 2003, for what was previously the diversified conglomerate Philip Morris Companies. Its biggest business by far is Philip Morris USA, the home of Marlboro cigarettes and other brands. Although it retains a small collection of operating interests in lease finance and wine, most of Altria's other big subsidiaries were spun off in the 2000s. (Wine division Ste Michelle Estates is also a prime contender for sale). Philip Morris Companies was not only the world's largest tobacco producer, but also the umbrella for food and beverage giant Kraft and for America's second-largest brewer, Miller. The reduction in tobacco-related litigation following a historic industrywide legal settlement at the end of the 1990s prompted the group to begin separating out its various component businesses. The brewery business was spun off in 2002 into what became SABMiller and was itself later acquired by AB InBev, in which Altria now has a 10% stake. Kraft was established as an independent entity in 2007, and was later acquired by Heinz to become The Kraft Heinz Company. In 2008, all of the group's international tobacco operations were also spun off as Philip Morris International. Despite declining tobacco sales, Altria's revenues have remained bouyant, steadily increasing each year, net of excise tax. Revenues for 2017 were $25.6bn, or $19.5bn excluding excise. All but around $800m was derived from tobacco products. Martin Barrington is chairman & CEO. Subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.
Who are the competitors of Altria? See Tobacco Sector index for other companies
Capsule checked 11th May 2018
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Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Jul 2014: US tobacco companies Reynolds American and Lorillard agreed terms for a merger to create a stronger rival to local leader Altria, whose Marlboro brand still dominates the sector with more than 40% market share. Other brands contribute to Altria's total share in 2013 of just under 46%. Currently, #2 player Reynolds is some way behind at 24.7%, from products such as Pall Mall and Camel, but its share has been in slow decline for several years. Third-ranked Lorillard, on the other hand, has been growing because of the popularity of its menthol brand Newport, now the second best-selling cigarette after Marlboro. In 2013, its market share rose to 13.6%. Under the deal unveiled this week, Reynolds would acquire Lorillard for around $27.4bn in cash and stock. In order to ease regulatory concerns over the reduction of competition in what is already a highly controversial sector, Reynolds and Lorillard are also offering to divest several brands. Much smaller Imperial Tobacco, maker of discount brand USA Gold, has been lined up to acquire Reynolds' Winston, Salem and Kool brands, as well as Lorillard's Maverick and top-selling Blu e-cigarette brand, for around $7.1bn. That would reduce Reynolds/Lorillard's combined share to a little over 35% and lift Imperial to over 9%. At the same time, British American Tobacco, the largest shareholder in Reynolds, is investing $4.7bn in order to maintain its 42% holding in the merged group. The extraordinarily complex deal will require the approval of three sets of shareholders and is also likely to entail a long regulatory investigation.
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