Monday, December 11, 2006

Citigroup Doesn't Think Altria (MO) Will Buy Gallaher, Sees Price Increase

Citigroup analyst, Bonnie Herzog, comments on Altria Group (NYSE: MO): "We, along with our global tobacco counterparts, believe the likely acquirer of Gallaher (NYSE: GLH) is Japan Tobacco. We do not believe Philip Morris Int'l will be involved with a bid for Gallaher, as it does not match the acquisition criteria for PMI. We increasingly believe Philip Morris USA will announce a price increase very soon. Based on conversations with our trade contacts, we anticipate a $0.10 per pack increase by PM USA, and anticipate the other manufacturers will follow. Also, we have been told by our contacts that PM USA will be introducing a new line extension on Marlboro, Marlboro Smooth. The line extension will be a menthol brand that will be positioned to directly compete with Newport."

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