Marlboro maker Altria edged past fourth-quarter adjusted profit expectations, as higher prices and a shift to alternative nicotine products helped cushion the blow from sluggish demand for traditional tobacco products.
The company also forecast 2024 adjusted profit in line with expectations and announced a new $1 billion share repurchase programme.
It is also investing in tobacco alternatives such as NJOY vapes as customers shift to newer ways of consuming nicotine.
Reported shipment volume for NJOY consumables was about 11.1 million units, compared with 7.5 million pods last quarter.
It reported fourth-quarter adjusted profit of $1.18 per share, compared to an expectation of $1.17, according to LSEG data.
Altria expects 2024 adjusted profit per share to rise between 1% and 4%, to a $5 to $5.15 range. Analysts expected full-year profit per share of $5.08.
Tough economic conditions have seen some of the company's customers migrating to cheaper brands.
Quarterly net revenues in its smokable products division fell 3.3% due to higher promotions. It also reported a 7.6% fall in domestic cigarette shipment volumes.
Like peer Philip Morris, Altria has invested in tobacco-free nicotine pouches that have gained traction against its traditional oral tobacco products such as Copenhagen and Skoal.
Shipment volume for Altria's on! nicotine pouches grew 32.8% in the reported quarter, lower than the 36.7% rise in the last quarter.
The company's revenue net of taxes fell 1.2% to $5.02 billion in the fourth quarter, missing LSEG expectations of revenue of $5.06 billion.