With Shrinking America Cigarette Sales Philip Morris USA More Dependent on the Smokeless Tobacco Market..

January 29, 2008 - Altria Group Inc., the biggest U.S. tobacco company, is becoming more dependent on shrinking American cigarette sales for profit as the spinoff of its international division approaches. U.S. cigarette sales are falling, pushing the maker of the top-selling Marlboro brand to invest in the $3.7 billion smokeless tobacco market, which is growing 6 percent a year (total price/value segment continues to drive overall category growth in moist snuff not premium - TW). Chief Executive Officer Louis Camilleri may announce tomorrow plans to split off the international unit in March 2008, turning up pressure on its Philip Morris USA to expand beyond cigarettes. U.S. producers shipped 6.8 percent fewer cigarettes in December than a year earlier, twice the rate of decline for all of 2007. Higher prices and smoking bans may be accelerating the drop, said Judy Hong, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst. (Altria U.S. Sales Languish as Overseas Spinoff Nears (Update2)) by Chris Burritt, Bloomberg.com, 1/29/2008) Some related news briefs: Marlboro MST/Marlboro SNUS - PM USA Trying to Paint a Rosie Picture.., UST, Inc. NOT Worried About New Moist Snuff Entry - Marlboro MST.. and Philip Morris USA (PM) continues to stumble in the smokeless tobacco arena..