MO - Altria Group, Inc.

NYSE - NYSE Delayed Price. Currency in USD
+0.33 (+0.72%)
At close: 4:05PM EST
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous Close45.56
Bid45.86 x 1000
Ask45.75 x 2200
Day's Range45.32 - 46.22
52 Week Range39.30 - 57.88
Avg. Volume8,280,309
Market Cap85.263B
Beta (5Y Monthly)0.49
PE Ratio (TTM)N/A
EPS (TTM)-0.70
Earnings DateApr 29, 2020
Forward Dividend & Yield3.36 (7.44%)
Ex-Dividend DateDec 23, 2019
1y Target Est55.11
  • U.S. SEC probes Altria's investment in Juul: source

    U.S. SEC probes Altria's investment in Juul: source

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether the Marlboro maker adequately disclosed the risks to its shareholders when it spent $12.8 billion in 2018 for a 35% stake in the start-up, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Friday. The SEC has issued subpoenas to Juul and the e-cigarette maker has responded, according to the person familiar with the matter. Juul has turned over documents including correspondence with Altria and financial projections Juul shared with Altria before the deal, the person said.

  • Altria Dips After Report SEC Investigating Probe of Juul Stake

    Altria Dips After Report SEC Investigating Probe of Juul Stake

    (Bloomberg) -- Altria Group Inc. shares dipped Friday after a report in the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had opened a probe into the cigarette maker’s $12.8 billion investment into vaping company Juul Labs Inc.Shares of Altria closed Friday at $45.89 in New York, up 0.7% after gaining as much as 1.4% earlier in the day. The Journal said the SEC is probing whether Altria adequately disclosed the risks of the investment. The tobacco company has written its position down to $4.2 billion amid new restrictions on Juul’s business and scrutiny over whether the vaping company hooked a new generation of young users on nicotine. Judy Burns, an SEC spokeswoman, declined to comment. Representatives for Juul and and Altria declined to comment.Altria invested in Juul in late 2018, valuing the vaping startup at about $38 billion at the time. In announcing the most recent writedown, Altria said it had narrowed the terms of its cooperation with Juul, saying it would no longer give it marketing help and would instead focus solely on assisting Juul through its growing regulatory challenges.Juul can only keep selling its products in the U.S. if it submits an application to the Food and Drug Administration by May 12 -- and if the agency eventually approves it.Altria has been “highly disappointed” in its Juul investment, CEO Howard Willard said in January. When the tobacco giant first made its investment, “Juul was the market share leader and market growth leader” in vaping, he said.K.C. Crosthwaite, a former Altria executive who is now Juul’s CEO, has said that he is focused on building the e-cigarette maker for the long-term by preparing premarket tobacco product applications to earn authorization in the U.S. Juul’s latest internal valuation has put the company’s value at about $20 billion, according to an internal memo sent to staff and described to Bloomberg News.To contact the reporter on this story: Drew Armstrong in New York at darmstrong17@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Drew Armstrong at darmstrong17@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Kraft Heinz Stock Is Not Worth Chasing

    Kraft Heinz Stock Is Not Worth Chasing

    I can see why some investors would be tempted by Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) at the moment. On its face, Kraft Heinz stock has a lot to like, and a reasonable "buy the dip" case.Source: Casimiro PT / The consumer giant owns a portfolio of iconic brands beyond its namesakes, including Planters, Philadelphia cream cheese, and Maxwell House. It should be a defensive business, an attractive attribute in a bull market about to enter its twelfth year.Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A,NYSE:BRK.B), led by famed investor Warren Buffett, remains a major shareholder, and in fact helped lead the merger between Kraft and Heinz. And Kraft Heinz stock is cheap, trading at less than 10x 2019 adjusted earnings per share. It also provides an attractive dividend that yields nearly 6% at the moment.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 7 Failing Tech Stocks to Disconnect From Now But investors should look closer. It doesn't take that much of a close look to see what's wrong with Kraft Heinz and with Kraft Heinz stock. This looks like a value trap, a yield trap, and a stock that investors should avoid. Kraft Heinz Stock Is CheapAs far as the fundamentals go, it's true that Kraft Heinz stock looks cheap relative to its earnings and its dividend. In fact, it's the cheapest major food stock out there -- and it's not really close. Conagra Brands (NYSE:CAG), even after plunging this week following lowered full-year guidance, trades at almost 15x this year's earnings per share. Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) has more than its shares of challenges, yet is valued at 19x the midpoint of its fiscal EPS guidance.The dividend yield looks attractive too. Kraft Heinz's 5.86% yield is the 14th-highest in the S&P 500. Index constituents with higher yields all have significant challenges, whether it's traffic issues at Macy's (NYSE:M) and Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) or secular pressures on Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and Altria (NYSE:MO).But in both cases, the fundamentals aren't as attractive as they seem. The Problems with KHC StockKHC stock does trade at a significant discount to the sector and the market as a whole. But it should trade at a discount.Kraft Heinz is coming off a 2019 in which adjusted EPS declined 19% year-over-year. In conjunction with its fourth quarter earnings report last week, Kraft Heinz didn't give specific guidance, a departure from its norm. But management said on the Q4 conference call that EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) would decline again in 2020 after falling 14% in 2019.EPS will fall. The current Wall Street consensus estimate projects a 20% drop, to $2.27. At that level, Kraft Heinz stock trades at a more reasonable 12x earnings and it's too early to predict a return to growth in 2021.Kraft Heinz's debt load has to be considered as well. Based on guidance, net debt likely is over 5x 2020 EBITDA. That's a concerning leverage ratio, and one that led Kraft Heinz debt to be cut to a 'junk' rating last week. On an enterprise value to EBITDA basis, which incorporates debt into the valuation, Kraft Heinz stock trades at over 10x. That's a much smaller discount to other consumer food plays, most of which are driving at least some growth.Declining earnings and heavy debt both suggest KHC stock should be cheap. And they color the dividend as well. Kraft Heinz already cut its payout last year. A company spokesman said last week there were no plans to do so again.But the company has over $29 billion in debt to pay down. The current $2 billion in annual dividend payments potentially could be put to better use. And if earnings keep falling, Kraft Heinz may not have a choice but to slash its payout a second time. The Bull CaseInvestors can't buy Kraft Heinz stock simply because it's "cheap." They have to believe in the potential for a turnaround.On that front, there's at least a case. But I'm skeptical it's a good one. Kraft Heinz's brands are well-known but they're also under pressure. Grocers continue to push higher-margin private-label products. The likes of Velveeta and Kool-Aid have been shunned by consumers seeking healthier alternatives.Kraft Heinz is trying to fix those brands, but it's going to take time and money. As Dana Blankenhorn detailed on this site a year ago, it was aggressive cost-cutting by hedge fund 3G Capital that led to the current problems. Kraft Heinz increased near-term profits at the cost of the long-term health of its portfolio. It's not the first time 3G's strategy has failed: beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) was also created via mega-merger, only to see its shares plunge and its dividend cut.Kraft Heinz is trying to reverse field. The company is ramping marketing spend by 30% or more behind key brands. But I'm skeptical that's enough. Millennials aren't buying processed Velveeta 'cheese' or processed Oscar Mayer lunchmeat no matter how much money Kraft Heinz invests. The company can find some wins in condiments or smaller brands, but the world simply has changed. Kraft Heinz brands, for the most part, seem left behind.If that's the case, it's simply impossible to own KHC stock. Declining earnings won't support upside to the stock given the $29 billion debt load. There aren't costs left to cut; if anything, spending has to normalize even beyond planned increases for 2020. The external environment remains difficult. Kraft Heinz stock does look cheap at first glance, but that's hardly enough.Vince Martin has covered the financial industry for close to a decade for and other outlets. He has no positions in any securities mentioned. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Failing Tech Stocks to Disconnect From Now * 5 Ideal Dividend Stocks for New Investors * 4 Stocks to Buy No Matter Who Wins the 2020 Election The post Kraft Heinz Stock Is Not Worth Chasing appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • 7 Dividend-Rich Sin Stocks to Buy Now

    7 Dividend-Rich Sin Stocks to Buy Now

    Pop culture has always loved the bad boy. From James Dean's Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause to Harrison Ford's Han Solo of Star Wars fame, everyone roots for the lovable rogue. But that's generally not true in the stock market, where "sin stocks" or "vice stocks" often get the stink eye.Investors, and particularly large institutional investors, have reputations to manage. Pensions and endowments, in particular, increasingly have environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) mandates that prohibit them from investing in industries that are politically incorrect or deemed to be socially harmful.In the past, this has generally meant vice stocks such as tobacco, alcohol, tobacco, gambling and even defense companies. (No one in polite company wants to be branded as a merchant of death.) But today, the net is cast a little wider. Oil and gas stocks are now personae non gratae in many ESG-compliant portfolios, as are opioid-producing pharmaceuticals. Companies with a lack of diversity on their boards of directors are also often singled out.Of course, if we take this to an extreme, nearly any industry could find itself blacklisted. Coca-Cola (KO) and PepsiCo (PEP) contribute to the obesity epidemic. Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB) have become mediums for hate speech, and Alphabet (GOOGL) tracks a scary amount of data on its users that could be used for nefarious purposes.The point here is not to justify bad behavior by companies or knock the idea of socially responsible investing, however. If you find a company's products or business practices objectionable, there's nothing wrong with excluding it from your portfolio. But a sin stock that one person finds objectionable might be personally fine to another. Some of the best stocks of the past decade included companies that glued people to their sofas and stuffed them with carbs.Today, we're going to look at seven of the best sin stocks to buy now. Betting against the least ESG-friendly of stocks isn't without its risks. But if you're willing to dip your toe into sectors that are politically incorrect, the rewards can be substantial. And most of these picks offer value pricing and/or significant dividend yield. SEE ALSO: All 30 Dow Stocks Ranked: The Analysts Weigh In

  • The Top 5 Buys of Steve Mandel's Lone Pine Capital

    The Top 5 Buys of Steve Mandel's Lone Pine Capital

    Firm releases its 4th-quarter portfolio Continue reading...

  • Business Wire

    Altria Presents at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference; Reaffirms Full-Year 2020 Earnings Guidance; Maintains 2020-2022 Adjusted Diluted EPS Growth Objective

    Altria Presents at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference; Reaffirms Full-year 2020 Earnings Guidance

  • PR Newswire

    SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Monteverde & Associates PC Launches an Investigation of the Board of Directors and Officers of Altria Group, Inc. - MO

    Juan Monteverde, founder and managing partner at Monteverde & Associates PC, a national securities firm headquartered at the Empire State Building in New York City, is investigating the Board of Directors and Officers of Altria Group, Inc. ("Altria Group" or the "Company") (NYSE: MO) for possible breaches of fiduciary duty.

  • Bernie Sanders' Economic Plan: A Second Bill of Rights

    Bernie Sanders' Economic Plan: A Second Bill of Rights

    Bernie Sanders could be elected "Organizer in Chief" in 2020. Here's what that would mean for the American economy.

  • Juul bought ad space on kids' websites, including Cartoon Network -lawsuit

    Juul bought ad space on kids' websites, including Cartoon Network -lawsuit

    E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc bought online advertisements on teen-focused websites for Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Seventeen magazine after it launched its product in 2015, according to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday by the Massachusetts attorney general's office. The allegations in the lawsuit, stemming from a more than year-long investigation, contradict repeated claims by Juul executives that the company never intentionally targeted teenagers, even as its products became enormously popular among high-school and middle-school students in recent years. The lawsuit filed by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said the company worked through online ad buyers to purchase space on websites that were "highly attractive to children, adolescents in middle school and high school, and underage college students," including educational websites such as and

  • Hedge Funds Getting Addicted To Altria Despite Bears’ Warnings
    Insider Monkey

    Hedge Funds Getting Addicted To Altria Despite Bears’ Warnings

    After experiencing a tough 2018, Altria bought a 35% stake in Juul at a $38 billion valuation at the end of 2018. At the time it seemed like e-cigarettes’ explosive growth will continue uninterrupted and around 10% of the young adults said in surveys that they “regularly or occasionally” vape. These young adults were using […]

  • More cash-crunched companies turn to convertible notes

    More cash-crunched companies turn to convertible notes

    Convertible notes are not just for early-stage startups any more. Convertible notes allow companies more time to develop their businesses before deciding who gets what. In recent months, however, more established companies that have already raised priced rounds have raised money via convertible notes.

  • Business Wire

    Altria to Host Webcast From the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference

    Altria to Host Webcast From the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference

  • Reuters

    Juul raises $700 mln in debt from investors - source

    Juul Labs Inc has raised more than $700 million in convertible debt from investors to fund its operations, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters, as the e-cigarette maker battles growing regulatory scrutiny on vaping. Last week, Altria Group Inc said it booked a $4 billion charge in the fourth quarter on its investment in Juul. The company has recorded $8.6 billion in impairments as of 2019, since it took a 35% stake in Juul for $12.8 billion in December 2018.

  • MarketWatch

    Juul raises more than $700 million in convertible debt to fund operations: WSJ

    E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. has raised more than $700 million in convertible debt to fund its operations, as it struggles with regulatory and legal challenges, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. Altria Group Inc. , which acquired a stake in the company in 2018 for $12.8 billion, took a second impairment charge on the stake last week and now holds it a price that values it at $12 billion, down sharply from $38 billion back in 2018. The company has attracted scrutiny after being accused of marketing to teenagers and is facing a slew of lawsuits.


    Philip Morris Beat Earnings Estimates, Barely. It’s a Solid End to a Crazy Year.

    The cigarette maker’s earnings per share were a penny higher than expected. Cigarette sales volume dropped 8% in the fourth quarter but volume soared for so-called heated tobacco products.


    Breaking: Juul Raises $700 Million - Report - Vaping company Juul Labs has raised a more funds for its operations at a time when the sector is getting hit hard by new regulations, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

  • Democratic congresswoman rips e-cigarette CEOs for sounding unaware of nicotine’s effects on the heart and brain

    Democratic congresswoman rips e-cigarette CEOs for sounding unaware of nicotine’s effects on the heart and brain

    A Capitol Hill hearing on “Vaping in America” underscores how Washington continues to have electronic cigarettes in its crosshairs because of a youth vaping epidemic.

  • Beer Drinkers Want More Than a Typical Lager These Days

    Beer Drinkers Want More Than a Typical Lager These Days

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Megabrew is saying goodbye to one of its mega-champions.Anheuser-Busch InBev SA said late Wednesday that long-standing finance director Felipe Dutra would step down in April. It’s the second big management change at the brewer in as many years. Chairman Olivier Goudet exited last year and was replaced by Martin Barrington, the former chief executive officer of tobacco company Altria Group Inc., one of AB InBev’s biggest shareholders.AB InBev did not comment on why Dutra was leaving. CEO Carlos Brito said the departure was “bittersweet.” Dutra felt now was the right time to embark on new projects, he said, adding that his contribution was hard to overstate.Dutra has spent almost 30 years with the owner of the Budweiser, Leffe and Jupiler brands, so it’s not overly surprising he’s moving on. He has been one of the architects, alongside Brito, of AB InBev’s transformation from a Brazilian beer maker to the world’s biggest brewer. That includes the 2016 acquisition of SAB Miller, which saddled the company with more than $100 billion of net debt.AB InBev should seize the opportunity created by the transition to augment its cost-cutting prowess with a greater emphasis on sales growth. That’s as necessary as continuing to whittle away its borrowing burden.Since the creation of this megabrewer, AB InBev has been grappling with the high leverage as well as a lackluster performance, from a combination of continuing beer volume declines in the U.S., where premium and craft beers are all the rage, and difficult conditions in key emerging markets, including Brazil. Dutra has managed the debt as well as he could, with borrowings having an average maturity of 14 years, and 91% on fixed terms. He also halved the dividend in October 2018, raised gross proceeds of $5.75 billion from a listing of the company’s Asia Pacific unit last year and another $11.3 billion from selling the Australian arm.Consequently, Duncan Fox of Bloomberg Intelligence estimates net debt at the end of 2019 was at just over $90 billion, and expects it to fall to about $75 billion at the end of 2020. That’s clearly an improvement, and may be another reason for Dutra to depart now while things are looking better. But it remains high. Even at the later date, borrowings would still be about 3.3 times Ebitda, well above AB InBev’s long-term goal of two times.To really bring down leverage, AB InBev needs to lift profit, which is hardly forecast to move in 2019 and 2020, according to the Bloomberg consensus of analysts’ estimates.That begs for efforts not only to control costs, which Dutra excelled at, but to boost sales growth, especially from elevating the amount of beer sold, not just raising prices. This is particularly necessary in the North American beer market, which accounts for about 30% of sales and profit, where volumes must be stabilized.Indeed, the change of finance director needs to usher in a new era at AB InBev, where it achieves a better balance between its legendary cost management and spending to turbocharge its brands including the flagship Budweiser, faster-growing Michelob Ultra and its selection of carbonated alcoholic beverages known as hard seltzers. AB InBev appears to know this. Brito says new finance director Fernando Tennenbaum’s role will be to support top-line growth through both financial management and investment as well as continuing to bring down debt.The change of guard may signal further developments as well. First, large scale M&A, already unlikely given the borrowing burden, is probably off the agenda for now, as the new finance director settles in. And while Brito’s succession may be some way off, given the two recent changes at the top, the appointment of Tennenbaum, as well as David Almeida as chief strategy and technology officer, appears to set the backdrop for this process.Still, if there is one more thing that Megabrew excels at, it’s unleashing a mega-surprise on investors. To contact the author of this story: Andrea Felsted at afelsted@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • There’s Only One Bull Case Left for Aurora Cannabis Stock

    There’s Only One Bull Case Left for Aurora Cannabis Stock

    Cannabis stocks like Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB) are starting to stabilize. Aurora stock has bounced over 40% from last month's lows, and has managed to hold early December lows. Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), still the sector's most valuable play, has rallied over 50% since selling off following earnings in November.Source: ElRoi / To be sure, pot stocks still sit well below past highs, and it's possible recent trading is a so-called "dead cat bounce." But at the least sentiment toward the sector doesn't seem quite as negative as it was just a few months ago. Expectations may be more reasonable, with a better understanding that the Canadian market alone can't drive the upside investors modeled in at the highs.The problem for Aurora stock is even that outlook isn't quite bright enough. A slow, measured recovery simply may not come quickly enough -- and likely would be more beneficial for other major cannabis companies. The case for buying ACB stock at this point, and choosing it over other cannabis plays, requires a much steeper recovery in sentiment and in sales. And I'm skeptical a recovery of that kind is on the way.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Are Cannabis Stocks Bottoming?Again, there is at least a hint of optimism toward the cannabis sector at the moment. The relentless pot stock selloff that began last spring has ended. Executive and investor focus has turned away from plunging production margins to "Cannabis 2.0" products like vapes and edibles. The regulatory backlog at Health Canada is starting to ease. * 7 Utility Stocks to Buy That Offer Juicy Dividends 2020 should at worst be a better year for the industry, and its stocks, even if that admittedly is a low bar to clear. Looking further out, the long-term opportunity remains expansive. Legalization at the federal level in the U.S. could arrive at some point. Aurora Cannabis itself has an extensive international reach.To be sure, risks remain. Valuations in the sector may be cheaper -- but they're not cheap. Cannabis companies as a whole still have tens of billions in combined market capitalization. Price-to-revenue multiples remain dear: ACB stock, including debt, trades around 5x the fiscal 2021 consensus revenue estimate.Still, there's a sense both in the stock market and in listening to cannabis executives that normalcy has returned. Investors aren't expecting cannabis names to triple in a matter of months. Executives are adapting to the new reality on the ground: Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) even announced layoffs this week. A recovery, if it comes, will take some time, but industry participants at least have hope for a recovery after a difficult 2019. The Problem for Aurora StockThe catch for Aurora stock, however, is that hopes for a modest recovery simply aren't good enough. This still is a company with significant balance sheet questions. And though I've argued that dilution, not bankruptcy, is the key risk, Aurora will need capital to get by in a slow-recovery scenario. That probably suggests more share issuances -- and further pressure on the ACB stock price.Meanwhile, rivals have that capital -- and plenty of it. Canopy raised billions from Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ,NYSE:STZ.B), and Cronos (NASDAQ:CRON) received a huge infusion from Altria (NYSE:MO).In a scenario where cannabis revenues grow at a reasonable pace, and profitability is a few years out, those majors have the edge. Their capital may allow them to buy assets of smaller distressed or bankrupt producers. Instead of focusing on cost-cutting, Canopy and Cronos can ramp marketing spending to capture share in higher-margin branded products. Capital allows for flexibility -- and flexibility will be valuable in a market that takes years to develop. The Case for ACBThere is one case for Aurora stock, however. In an environment where cannabis sales, and cannabis stocks, soar, ACB is the play.After all, that leveraged balance sheet amplifies both downside and upside. Aurora's debt is a key reason why Aurora shares have fallen even further than those of most peers. But in an upside scenario, ACB stock should outperform.A similar dynamic applies to Aurora's business. Few companies have Aurora's existing reach. If sales suddenly take off -- in the recreational market in Canada or in medical markets overseas -- Aurora is best-positioned to capitalize.For those investors still hugely bullish on cannabis -- and bullish on the near-term opportunity in particular -- Aurora stock is the right choice. A rally in its stock can ease financing worries. A spike in Canadian demand will improve margins and get the company closer to profitability quicker. At this point, that's the only case left. Personally, I don't think it's near enough.As of this writing, Vince Martin has no positions in any securities mentioned. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Utility Stocks to Buy That Offer Juicy Dividends * 10 Gold and Silver Stocks to Profit Off 2020's Fear Trade * 3 Top Companies That Should Be More Careful With Your Data The post There's Only One Bull Case Left for Aurora Cannabis Stock appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • Thomson Reuters StreetEvents

    Edited Transcript of MO earnings conference call or presentation 30-Jan-20 2:00pm GMT

    Q4 2019 Altria Group Inc Earnings Call

  • MoneyShow

    Altria- Steady Income from Valuable Brands

    Altria Group (MO) sells cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, e-cigarettes, and wine under the Marlboro, Skoal, Copenhagen, and St. Michelle brands, among others, notes income expert Ben Reynolds, editor of Sure Dividend.


    Is Altria’s 7% Dividend Yield Sustainable? These RBC Analysts Say Yes.

    RBC Capital Markets analysts assert that “Altria can comfortably pay its dividend and still have plenty of cash for buybacks/investments.”

  • Big Tobacco’s Future Is Now

    Big Tobacco’s Future Is Now

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Cars and cigarettes have at least one thing in common these days: They are both being disrupted by more modern alternatives. So Stefan Bomhard, the chief executive officer of car dealer Inchcape Plc, should have some idea of what he’ll face when he takes the reins at U.K. cigarette maker Imperial Brands Plc.It isn’t easy to find executives willing to move to the much-aligned tobacco industry. But Bomhard looks a good  CEO choice for Imperial, which sells Lambert & Butler cigarettes and Blu vapes. The company had decided to part ways with Alison Cooper in October, a week after a profit warning. She will now step down as with immediate effect.Bomhard did a solid job at Inchcape. While the shares are down about 18% since he became CEO in April 2015, underperforming the FTSE All-Share Index, conditions in car dealing haven’t been easy since Britain voted to leave the European Union and consumer confidence crumbled. It’s still a much better performance than the FTSE All-Share General Retailers Index.The downside is that Bomhard doesn’t have any tobacco experience. But this is less of an issue than it would be in, say, general retailing. Imperial will have plenty of executives with many years’ worth of knowledge of the traditional cigarette business, still the biggest and most profitable part of the group. And he should be able to pull on his prior experience with big global brands in the race to grab market share for Imperial’s new products, whatever they may be.The new chief executive spent his career in consumer goods before joining Inchcape, with roles at spirits company Bicardi, chocolate and candy maker Cadbury, and consumer-goods giant Unilever. That should put him in good stead as Imperial attempts to pivot to alternatives to traditional cigarettes, which could in turn, pave the way for it to diversify into dispensing other adult, highly regulated products, such as cannabis.When Bomhard takes up the role at a yet to be determined date, his first task will be to get to grips with the crisis in the U.S. vaping industry. The company is evaluating the impact of the recent Food and Drug Administration ban on flavors aside from menthol and tobacco for pod-based electronic cigarettes, the type it makes.Then Bomhard will have to work quickly to decide where best to focus Imperial’s attention, and investment. Although the group has strong positions in vaping and oral nicotine, it only entered the heat-not-burn market relatively recently. He must decide whether to expand in this category, which has not been drawn into the crisis in the U.S. vaping industry.He could also look at reshaping other aspects of Imperial’s business, including traditional cigarettes. The company is already seeking to raise up to 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) through disposals, including a sale of its premium cigar business. But he could go further, say selling off parts of the portfolio in Asia and Africa, and returning the proceeds to shareholders, or investing more in tobacco alternatives.Either way, Bomhard must take decisive action. Shares in Imperial have fallen more than 20% over the past year, and they trade at a 40% discount to Bloomberg Intelligence’s global tobacco manufacturing valuation peer group. The company even lags Altria Group Inc., which is reeling from its disastrous investment in vaping company Juul Labs Inc.Imperial has long been seen as an acquisition target, with Japan Tobacco Inc. tipped as the most obvious contender. Another possibility would be for Japan Tobacco and British American Tobacco Plc to carve up Imperial’s empire between them along geographical lines. So if Bomhard doesn’t light up the Imperial share price, a bigger rival just might.To contact the author of this story: Andrea Felsted at afelsted@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Altria Group, Inc. Reported A Surprise Loss, And Analysts Have Updated Their Forecasts
    Simply Wall St.

    Altria Group, Inc. Reported A Surprise Loss, And Analysts Have Updated Their Forecasts

    Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO) shares fell 5.4% to US$47.53 in the week since its latest yearly results. Revenues came...