Cigarette maker Lorillard 1Q profit rises

Cigarette maker Lorillard says its net income increased 7 percent in the first quarter as it sold more Newport and Maverick cigarettes at higher prices.

Lorillard says it earned $248 million, or $1.71 per share, for the period ended March 31. That’s up from $232 million, or $1.50 per share, a year ago. The per-share figure was boosted by a lower number of shares outstanding.

The nation’s third-biggest tobacco company says revenue excluding excises taxes increased 14 percent to $1.06 billion.

Analysts expected earnings of $1.57 per share on revenue of $955 million.

Lorillard, based in Greensboro, N.C., sold 9.5 percent more cigarettes on gains from Newport and lower-priced brands like Maverick. Rivals Reynolds American and Altria Group both reported selling fewer cigarettes during the quarter.

By MICHAEL FELBERBAUM

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