Prospects of selling the country's No. 2 brewer to South African Breweries seemed to dim slightly as Philip Morris' incoming CEO and current chief financial officer, Louis Camilleri, said he was encouraged by the unit's second consecutive quarter of growth.
However, he reiterated that Philip Morris is not oblivious to conditions in the beer industry, which has been consolidating amid increased competition.
First-quarter underlying operating income rose 4.8% to $130 million, up from $124 million a
Ad spending increased
The company said an increase in marketing dollars partially offset the income growth.
Miller represents about 3% of Philip Morris' total income.
The tobacco giant today reported net earnings for the first quarter increased 33% to $2.4 billion, or $1.10 per share, from $1.8 billion, or 81 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted for the initial public offering of Kraft and recent accounting-rule changes, underlying net earnings rose 5.9% to $2.5 billion from $2.3 billion. Reported net revenue was up 2.9% to $20.5 billion from $19.9 billion.