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Big tobacco just gets bigger

WHILE the spotlight of the anti-tobacco world is on the World Health Organisation hearings in Geneva, Switzerland, one should not lose sight of the fact that all the anti-tobacco campaigns are having little effect on the bottom line of the big tobacco companies.

Philip Morris, the owner of Marlboro, has just reported that its third-quarter earnings for 2000 are up by seven percent to $2.24bn compared to last year. Tobacco income accounts for $1.4bn of this although this is boosted by income from other subsidiaries such as Kraft Foods and Miller Brewing. These results have been achieved despite the fact that the company has suffered in Europe because of the weakness of the Euro currency.

The company is currently in the process of increasing its food businesses with the purchase of cookie business Nabisco from its tobacco rival RJ Reynolds.

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