March 26, 2013 / 8:25 AM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Czech Philip Morris trims dividend on lower profit

* Proposes dividend of CZK 900/share

* Net profit falls 3.9 pct, revenue up on exports

PRAGUE, March 26 (Reuters) - Czech tobacco group Philip Morris CR proposed paying a gross dividend of 900 crowns ($45.00) per share from 2012 profit and retained earnings, down from 920 crowns the year before.

Consolidated net profit fell 3.9 percent in 2012 to 2.44 billion crowns, or 889 crowns per share, the company said in its annual report posted on its website on Tuesday.

The Czech cigarette maker, which covers the Czech and Slovak markets, is majority owned by Philip Morris International .

Revenue rose 6.6 percent to 12.96 billion, led by a 23.7 percent rise in exports to other PMI units, the company said. Shipments in the Czech market fell by 7.5 percent in 2012.

“Our sales in the Czech Republic and Slovakia remain under pressure due to a general drop in the market and continuing consumer shift to cigarettes in the cheaper price segment,” Andras Tovisi said in an invitation to the company’s annual general meeting.

The Czech Republic, the company’s main market, is facing a stagnant economy that has not grown since the first half of 2011 due to the euro zone crisis and government austerity that has pushed consumers into cheaper brands.

Shares in Philip Morris CR, unchanged early on Tuesday at 11,225 crowns, have lost 10.7 percent since the start of 2012, versus a 6 percent rise for Prague’s PX index.

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