Altria will be focused on U.S. tobacco markets..

February 1, 2008 - With the spin off of Philip Morris International the parent company of Philip Morris, Altria, will become a company focused on various tobacco markets in the United States and move its headquarters to Richmond from New York. With cigarette smoking steadily declining among Americans, Altria has turned its focus to cigars and various types of chewing tobacco. The challenge for the company, which will now be entirely based and operating in Virginia, will be to move into other tobacco businesses that are still growing. Philip Morris is spending up to $100 million to refurbish and expand the York plant (abandoned in 2004 and will be the focal point of future growth for the remaining assets of Altria) adding 180 high-paying jobs. Following closures announced in North Carolina last year, the only other Philip Morris facilities left in the country are in the Richmond area and York County. The Marlboro Snus test has gone well and will expand in March to Indianapolis, the same market where Taboka did not perform well and was pulled. The traditional Marlboro chew also garnered "encouraging initial consumer and trade response," the company said, and will expand into counties around Atlanta. "Marlboro's exceedingly-well-positioned to capture growth in this category," said Louis C. Camilleri, Altria chief executive. The company's projections for how it will perform in 2008 reveal some optimism about its faith in the chewing tobacco and cigar strategy. Altria's domestic cigarette sales dropped 4.6 percent in 2007, but the company expects earnings to grow from 9 percent to 11 percent in 2008. ( York plant at forefront of Altria's future The company is test-marketing smokeless tobacco made at the facility by CHRIS FLORES,, 1/31/2008) We can expect new tobacco products coming from Philip Morris USA's new 450,000 square foot Center for Research and Technology. ( - Incomplete..