Tomorrow Altria Board Expected to Announce Decision to Split Philip Morris International (PMI) From Philip Morris USA..

January 29, 2008 - Tomorrow Altria Board Expected to Announce Decision to Split Philip Morris International (PMI) From Philip Morris USA.. The Altria board is expected to approve a long-awaited decision to split PMI from Philip Morris USA. “This is something that has been in the works for years,” said Bonnie Herzog, an analyst at Citigroup. “To me, it’s a done deal.” The move would free the tobacco giant's international operations of legal and public-relations headaches in the U.S. that have hindered its growth. “It allows PMI to become much more free to pursue growth opportunities,” Ms. Herzog said. The Altria Group would probably remain as a holding company for Philip Morris USA and the company’s 29 percent stake in SABMiller, the beer company, she said. Some of the new cigarette products include: Marlboro Intense - shrunken down by about a half inch, and offers smokers seven potent puffs apiece, versus the average of eight or so milder draws. The idea behind Intense is to appeal to customers who, due to indoor smoking bans, want to dash outside for a quick nicotine hit but don't always finish a full-size cigarette. With the Heatbar smokers insert specially-designed cigarettes into the device that releases 90% less smoke into the atmosphere than a traditional cigarette. PMI's launch of TBS ("Tobacco Block System") in Germany, where roll-your-own tobacco is taxed at significantly lower rates. Recent Marlboro launches include Marlboro Mix 9, a high-nicotine, high-tar cigarette introduced in Indonesia last July. PMI is poised to export the clove-infused Mix 9 (Kretek) to other Southeast Asian markets as soon as this year. Marlboro Filter Plus is being sold in South Korea, Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. It touts a special filter comprised of carbon, cellulose acetate and tobacco that claims to lower the tar level while giving smokers a smoother taste. Marlboro Wides an extra-thick cigarette whose package flips open from one side. International cigarette sales are relatively flat. Still, PMI feels it has much more room for growth because it has only about 15 percent of the international market. PMI generated $48.26 billion in net revenue in 2006 compared with $18.47 billion at PM Morris USA. ( "Altria Board to Consider a Spinoff Overseas" by Andrew Martin, The New York Times, 8/25/2007) Some related news briefs: January 24, 2008, December 10, 2007 and September 28, 2007. Also Philip Morris (PM) to close N.C. cigarette plant...

PMI new products slideshow.