Cigarette maker Lorillard Inc. said Thursday that its net income grew nearly 20 percent in the fourth quarter as it sold more cigarettes at higher prices.
The nation’s third-biggest tobacco company said it earned $310 million, or $2.32 per share, for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, up from $259 million, or $1.74 per share, a year ago. The per-share figure was boosted by a lower number of shares outstanding.
Lorillard, based in Greensboro, said adjusted earnings that exclude a benefit from expenses related to a tobacco settlement were $2.20 per share, beating analyst expectations of $1.94 per share. Revenue excluding excises taxes rose about 10 percent to $1.12 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected revenue of $1.09 billion.
Lorillard was bucking industry trends as broader cigarette volumes declined, CEO Murray Kessler said in a conference call with investors.
The number of cigarettes Lorillard sold rose about 6 percent to 9.8 billion.
Lorillard’s retail market share rose 0.8 points in the quarter to 14 percent of the U.S. market.
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