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Why Is Philip Morris (PM) Up 4.9% Since Last Earnings Report?

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A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Philip Morris (PM - Free Report) . Shares have added about 4.9% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Philip Morris due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

Philip Morris Tops Q3 Earnings Estimates, Raises Guidance

Philip Morris reported third-quarter 2020 results, wherein it raised its earnings per share guidance for 2020. Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.42, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.36. However, the bottom line dipped 0.7% year over year. On an organic basis, the bottom line grew 5.6%.    

Net revenues of $7,446 million beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $7,262 million. However, the top line decreased 2.6% from the figure reported in the year-ago quarter. Net revenues, on excluding currency headwinds, declined 1.5%. This was due to adverse volume/mix mainly stemming from soft cigarette shipment volumes, somewhat made up by greater heated tobacco shipment volumes. The company also received some respite from favorable pricing variance, particularly in the combustible category.

During the quarter under review, revenues from combustible products were down 9.2% to $5,716 million due to declines in all regions, except the European Union. Revenues in the RRPs grew 28.6% to $1,730 million. Total cigarette and heated tobacco unit shipment volumes dropped 7.6% to 184.4 billion units. Cigarette shipment volumes fell 9.8% to 165.5 billion units in the quarter, while heated tobacco unit shipment volumes of about 19 billion units rose 18.7% year over year.

Adjusted operating income rose 1.9% to $3,243 million. After excluding currency, or on an organic basis, adjusted operating income increased 5.8% year over year. Adjusted operating margin expanded 1.9 percentage points to 43.6%, while it increased 3.1 percentage points to 44.8% on an organic basis.

Region-Wise Performance

Net revenues in the European Union increased 11.5% to $2,950 million. Revenues rose 10% at constant currency (cc), courtesy of improved volume/mix and favorable pricing variance. Volumes were mainly backed by a rise in heated tobacco unit volumes. Total shipment volumes in the region fell 0.7% to 50,360 million units. In Eastern Europe, net revenues remained flat at $899 million, while it grew 7.3% at cc. The upside can be attributed to favorable pricing and volume/mix. Total shipment volumes dropped 2.2% to 30,543 million units. In the Middle East & Africa region, net revenues declined 31.9% (down 29.4% at cc) to $768 million due to adverse volume/mix, partly made up by favorable pricing. Further, total shipment volumes fell 17.3% to 31,082 million units.

Revenues in South & Southeast Asia fell 14% (down 14.3% at cc) to $1,071 million. The downside was a result of adverse volume/mix as well as pricing variance (mainly in Indonesia). Shipment volumes collapsed 12.1% to 37,248 million units. Revenues from East Asia & Australia advanced 8.5% (up 7% at cc) to $1,358 million due to pricing gains (mainly in Japan), partly offset by adverse volume/mix. Total shipment volumes slipped 6.2% to 19,385 million units. Finally, revenues from Latin America & Canada dropped 15.4% (down 5.9% at cc) to $400 million due to adverse volume/mix, somewhat compensated by improved pricing. Moreover, total shipment volumes declined 6.7% to 15,813 million units.

Other Financials Developments & Guidance

The company ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $4,821 million. Also, it had long-term debt of $27,346 million and shareholders’ deficit of $10,245 million. During the quarter, Philip Morris raised its quarterly dividend by 2.6%, taking the annualized rate to $4.80 per share.

The company doesn’t expect any national lockdown recurrence in any of its core international markets in the remaining parts of 2020. It does not expect a near-term recovery in the duty-free business due to travel-related uncertainties. In fact, management expects the existing dynamics to persist at least through the end of 2020. Further, the company expects complete enforcement of requirements for minimum retail selling price in Indonesia earliest by 2020-end.

Additionally, total cigarette and heated tobacco unit shipment volumes are likely to fall 8-9% (on a like for like or LFL basis) in 2020 compared with an 8-10% decline expected earlier. Total industry volumes are anticipated to decrease 7-8% (excluding China and the United States) compared with a 7-9% fall expected earlier. For 2020, Philip Morris expects net revenues (at cc) to drop in low-single digits (on an organic basis). The same is expected to grow in low-single digits on excluding Indonesia and the duty-free business.

Encouragingly, the company raised its adjusted operating margin growth and the bottom-line view for 2020. Adjusted operating margin on an organic basis is likely to jump 200 basis points now compared with more than 150-basis-point growth anticipated earlier. The company now envisions adjusted earnings per share to be $5.05-$5.10 in 2020 compared with $5.13 reported in the year-ago period. At cc, adjusted earnings per share are expected to grow 5-6% to $5.37-$5.42 now. Earlier, it was expected to increase 3.5-5% to $5.31-$5.38 per share on a cc basis.

For the fourth quarter, the company expects earnings per share of $1.16, including currency headwinds of about 4 cents. This reflects expectations of almost the same underlying consumption trends as the third quarter. Also, various costs that were originally planned for the third quarter are now anticipated in the fourth quarter.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in fresh estimates.

VGM Scores

At this time, Philip Morris has a nice Growth Score of B, though it is lagging a bit on the Momentum Score front with a C. Following the exact same course, the stock was allocated a grade of C on the value side, putting it in the middle 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of B. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. Notably, Philip Morris has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.


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