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Philip Morris profit falls 2.5% on lower cigarette shipments to Europe; Stock tumbles

Tobacco producers are seeing drop in demand for traditional cigarettes
The shares dropped 16%, leading other tobacco companies lower

Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM) said first-quarter profit fell 2.5% amid lower cigarette shipments to Europe and east Asia. The stock tumbled.

Net income dropped to US$1.55bln, or US$1.00 a share, from US$1.59bln, or US$1.02 a share, a year earlier, the company said in a statement today. That beat estimates of US$0.98 a share at FactSet. Revenue gained 14% to US$6.9bln at the firm, whose brands include the Marlboro cigarette.

Philip Morris raised its forecast for full-year diluted earnings per share to a range of $US5.25 to $US5.40.

The stock dropped 16% to US$85.53 at 11:06 a.m. Shares of other cigarette producers also fell. Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO) declined 7.8% to US$56.70, while British American Tobacco plc (NYSE:BTI) fell 6.3% to US$51.39.

Philip Morris and rivals are seeing demand for traditional tobacco products decline as more smokers turn to electronic cigarettes. Philip Morris's cigarette shipments in the first quarer dropped 5.3% to 164.3bln units, the company said today.

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