In Process - UST, Inc. posted lower third-quarter net profit..

October 24, 2008 - UST Inc posted lower third-quarter net profit as it spent more to try to defend sales of its smokeless tobacco products (e.g., Skoal and Copenhagen) from increased competition.

The company, has agreed to be acquired by Altria Group Inc.

UST's share of the U.S. smokeless tobacco market was 57.4 percent, the same as the second quarter and down 3 percentage points from a year earlier. While smokeless tobacco sales in general have been on the rise, UST's main business, the premium segment, has suffered because of soaring gasoline prices and the weak U.S. economy.

- Response to question from tobacco analyst..

Judy Hong - Goldman Sachs..And then in terms of Snus, I know previously you’ve been a little bit reluctant to comment on Snus making any meaningful inroads in the near term. You’ve got Reynolds now rolling out Camel Snus nationwide. Do you think that they’re beginning to gain some traction, maybe faster than you expected? What are your thoughts there for Snus, generally?

Murray S. Kessler, UST's Chief Executive Officer - Our Snus test, we put it in and in selected customers it’s doing fine. I haven’t seen any change in trend that would change the opinions I’ve given you in the past. So they obviously see the numbers different than me but it still remains a very tiny piece of the category and I don’t see it building significantly in original markets in any material way. So I’m not saying it can’t over time, I’ve always been a believer, but no, there are no breakthroughs going on right now.

Some previous comments on snus:UST, Inc. Executives Very Disappointed in Sales of the Entire SNUS Segment...

Reference: UST third-quarter net profits falls, Reuters, 10/24/2008; UST, Inc. Q3 2008 Earnings Call Transcript, Seeking Alpha, 10/24/2008.