Philip Morris International Inc. (PM.N) cut its forecast for this year for a second time, saying the impact from judgments in Canadian lawsuits will take a bigger toll on profit.Excluding its Canadian unit from company earnings following judgments tied to smoking health effects will cost the company 12 cents a share, up from a previous estimate of a 10-cent impact. That’s in addition to previously disclosed litigation expenses of 9 cents.
On a positive note, cigarette volumes, which have been broadly declining for years across the industry, were flat for Philip Morris in the first quarter. Volumes for its IQOS device, which heats tobacco without burning it, jumped 20 per cent. With so much of its future reliant on IQOS, the results were encouraging.
The device showed “notable” growth in Japan, which has been a key testing ground for the product. Chief Executive Officer Andre Calantzopoulos said the number of IQOS users worldwide has topped 10 million. That may not be the end of the impact from Canadian legal issues.
While full-year guidance and operating cash flow for the year were lower as a result, Philip Morris said that forecast excludes the potential for future developments in two class actions and the Canadian proceedings for creditors. The company is trying a new strategy with its “Unsmoke” campaign, which encourages people to quit smoking -- or better yet, not to start. But at the same time, the company saw shipment volume growth from each of its top-five international cigarette brands as a highlight of the quarter.