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Philip Morris International Inc PM

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Lowering Tobacco Valuations by Mid-Single-Digit Amounts After FDA Announces Plan to Ban Menthol

Analyst Note

| Philip Gorham, CFA, FRM |

Altria's in line first-quarter results were overshadowed by the Food and Drug Administration's announcement that it is to seek a ban on menthol cigarettes. Although the risk of a menthol ban has been a long-term overhang and one of the ESG risks we have identified, we did not include it in our base-case assumptions because we felt the legal burden of proof for implementing a ban--which required the FDA to prove that a ban would be a net public health benefit--was fairly high. Following the FDA's announcement, however, we believe the probability of a ban has now increased because the FDA clearly believes it has met that burden of proof. We still believe a ban will take years to implement, and we are lowering our stage II growth rate assumptions for the cigarette makers with exposure to the menthol category in the U.S. We are lowering our fair value estimates of Altria to $52 per share from $54, of British American Tobacco to GBX 4,000 from 4,300, and of Imperial Brands to GBX 2,900 from GBX 3,000. We believe the tobacco group remains undervalued, and our picks remain Philip Morris International, whose exposure to the U.S. is limited to a revenue share of its market-leading reduced risk portfolio, and Imperial Brands, which trades at under 10 times forward earnings and pays a dividend yield of 9%.

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Company Profile

Business Description

Philip Morris International is a leading international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and other nicotine-containing products in markets outside the United States. Through multidisciplinary capabilities in product development, state-of-the-art facilities, and scientific substantiation, the company aims to ensure that its smoke-free products meet adult consumer preferences and rigorous regulatory requirements. Management's vision is that these products ultimately replace cigarettes.

120 Park Avenue
New York, NY, 10017
T +1 917 663-2000
Sector Consumer Defensive
Industry Tobacco
Most Recent Earnings Mar 31, 2021
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2021
Stock Type High Yield
Employees 71,000