* Cuts 2014 profit est to $4.87-$4.97 per shr from
$5.09-$5.19 per shr
* To buy UK-based e-cigarette maker Nicocigs
* Expects to launch a proprietary e-cigarette in 2016
(Adds details from statement, background)
June 26 Cigarette maker Philip Morris
International Inc cut its earnings forecast for 2014 and
said it is proving to be a "complex and truly atypical" year for
Philip Morris and its rivals like Imperial Tobacco Group
and British American Tobacco are grappling with
declining sales in a number of markets due to increasing
government regulation and more health-aware consumers, as well
as smuggling and an economic downturn.
The maker of Marlboro cigarettes said it now expects to earn
$4.87-$4.97 per share for 2014, lower than the $5.09-$5.19 per
share it expected earlier and $5.26 it earned in 2013.
"We continue to face significant currency headwinds, an
improving but weak macro-economic environment in the European
Union and known challenges in Asia," Chief Executive Andre
Calantzopoulos said in a statement.
However, Philip Morris expects adjusted profit in 2014 to
rise 6 to 8 percent from the $5.40 it reported last year.
The company forecast a 2 to 3 percent fall in 2014 total
cigarette industry volume, excluding China and United States.
Philip Morris also said it acquired Nicocigs Ltd, a
U.K.-based e-cigarette maker to get access to the growing
e-cigarette category in the U.K. market. Financial terms were
not disclosed, but the company said the deal is not material to
its 2014 results or cash flow.
The company, which plans to launch a proprietary e-cigarette
in 2016, said its reduced-risk products are expected to add to
its bottom line within next three to four years.
Philip Morris said last year it would enter the e-cigarette
business in the second half of 2014 to tap fast-growing demand
for a less harmful alternative to cigarettes.
The company teamed up with Altria Group in 2013 to
market electronic cigarettes and other "reduced risk" tobacco
Less dangerous alternatives to cigarettes are a key focus
for big tobacco firms as governments worldwide crack down and
consumers cut back consumption.
Philip Morris shares closed at $88.89 on the New York Stock
Exchange on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Anannya Pramanick in Bangalore; Editing by