) missed profit views for a second straight quarter last week,
but sales topped forecasts amid rising market share of its
Newport and blu eCigs brands.
The Greensboro, N.C.-based tobacco maker on Thursday reported
a Q1 profit of 69 cents a share, up 5% from the prior year but 3
cents below forecasts. Revenue climbed 1% to almost $1.6 billion
to top views, helped by a 1.4% increase in net cigarette
During the quarter, Lorillard's domestic retail market share
rose 0.3 points to 15.2%, the first time above the 15% level. Its
blu e-cigarette market share grew 10 points to 45% in the U.S.
The company is gearing up to launch blu eCigs in the U.K.
The rising popularity of electronic cigarettes, however, has
drawn increased scrutiny from regulators. Also on Thursday, the
Food and Drug Administration proposed rules that would make
products subject to federal review, prohibit sales to minors and
require labels warning of nicotine addiction.
But TV ads and flavored versions wouldn't be affected.
Consumer groups have alleged the e-cig makers target youth with
provocative ads that play up the "cool" factor and flavors such
as chocolate, gummy bear and pumpkin spice. Celebrities have also
been shown "vaping" in movies, photographs and other forms of
Lorillard on March 10 announced a quarterly dividend hike of
12% to 61.5 cents a share. That works out to an annualized yield
of 4.5%, well above the S&P 500's 1.9%.
Annual earnings per share have steadily grown the past five
years, and analysts expect an 11% gain this year and 9% the next.
That consistent track record helps it land a three-year earnings
stability factor of 1 on a scale of 0 (most stable) to 99 (most
The stock cleared a 53.37 buy point of a flat base on March 3,
then spiked as much as 7% the next session before starting a cup
base with a potential 56.95 buy point.