RICHMOND, Va. -- Recent analyst reports have cast Altria in a favorable light regarding its efforts with e-cigarettes and other alternatives to traditional tobacco.
In a recent review, Alexandria, Va.-based Motley Fool said Altria “hasn’t hesitated to look for innovative products to pick up the slack from reduced numbers of smokers of traditional cigarettes.”
The company’s Nu Mark subsidiary has “worked hard” to develop e-cigarette and e-vapor products, and its MarkTen XL product has taken “substantial market share in convenience stores and other mainstream retail outlets for the products.”
In her analysis, Bonnie Herzog, managing director of beverage, tobacco and convenience-store research for Wells Fargo Securities, New York, recently wrote that the 16% rise in e-cigarette dollar sales noted in New York-based Nielsen's latest four-week reporting period were due in part to Altria's MarkTen XL brand. She said MarkTen XL is “holding its own” at 15% dollar share vs. 15.5% last month, with its performance “due to intense promotional activity behind the brand.”
In its analysis, Motley Fool said Altria also holds promise in the heated-tobacco market. It called demand for “heat not burn” tobacco products strong and that Altria is working on products to introduce to the U.S. market. Motley Fool characterized Altria as a company with “interesting projects that could increase its size and renew expansion of its brand.”
In addition to the optimism around tobacco innovation, Motley Fool identified Richmond, Va.-based Altria’s 10% stake in Anheuser-Busch InBev as another reason behind its current outlook, as the Belgium-based beverage giant is in in talks to merge with London-based SABMiller.