(RTTNews) - While reporting better than expected second-quarter earnings on Thursday, Altria Group, Inc. (MO) raised the lower end of its forecast for fiscal 2021 earnings.
For fiscal 2021, the company now expects adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $4.56 to $4.62, representing a growth rate of 4.5 percent to 6 percent from a $4.36 base in 2020.
On average, 17 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report earnings of $4.59 per share for the year. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
The company previously expected adjusted earnings in a range of $4.49 to $4.62, representing a growth rate of 3 to 6 percent from last year.
The revised guidance reflects continued confidence in its tobacco businesses, investments in smoke-free products and the expected impact of the recently announced agreement to sell Ste. Michelle Wine Estates business.
In the second quarter, net earnings attributable to Altria climbed 10.6 percent to $2.15 billion from last year's $1.94 billion. Earnings per share were $1.16, up 11.5 percent from last year's $1.04.
Adjusted earnings per share were $1.23, compared to $1.09 a year ago.
Net revenues increased 8.9 percent to $6.94 billion from prior year's $6.37 billion, primarily driven by higher net revenues in all reportable segments. Revenues net of excise taxes increased 10.9 percent.
Analysts expected earnings of $1.18 per share on revenues of $5.40 billion for the quarter.
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