Canadian Manufacturing

Marlboro maker Altria closing two tobacco plants, cutting 580 jobs

Operations at those facilities will be moved to manufacturing sites in Richmond, Va., or Nashville, Tenn.



RICHMOND, Va.—Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, said Thursday that it will close manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania and Illinois by early 2018, affecting about 580 workers.

The company said about 200 jobs in different states will be available for those workers, if they choose to transfer. Altria did not say how many workers it expects to lay off. Full-time workers that do not transfer will be given a minimum of six months of severance, in addition to benefits and free job training, a spokesman said.

One of the closing facilities, in Limerick, Pennsylvania, has 280 workers and makes Black & Mild cigars, Middleton’s Cherry Blend pipe tobacco and other products. The other facility in Franklin Park, Illinois, has 300 workers and makes Copenhagen, Skoal and other smokeless tobacco products. Operations at those facilities will be moved to manufacturing sites in Richmond, Virginia, where Altria is headquartered, or another facility in Nashville, Tennessee.

Workers were told about the closures Thursday morning, an Altria spokesman said.

The closures are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2018 and would save Altria about $50 million by the end of that year.

The announcement came as Altria, which also makes Virginia Slims and Parliament cigarettes, reported a 29 per cent drop in profit for its most recent quarter, but its adjusted earnings still beat expectations. It reported net income of $1.09 billion, or 56 cents per share, in the three months ending Sept. 30, compared with $1.53 billion, or 78 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to 82 cents per share, beating the 81 cents per share Wall Street analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue rose 4 per cent to $5.19 billion in the period.

Altria said it expects full-year earnings in the range of $2.98 per share and $3.04 per share. Analysts expected earnings of $3.03 per share for the year, according to FactSet.

Shares of Altria Group Inc. rose 32 cents to $64.84 in afternoon trading Thursday. Its shares are up more than 6 per cent in the last 12 months.

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