Home » tobacco sin stocks » Will The REAL Philip Morris Please Stand Up

It surprises investors to learn that there are actually 2 Philip Morris companies out there. There used to be one and then through the miracles of cloning and stock market spin-outs, there are now two.

Investors who want to add tobacco to their portfolio should know the difference between the two.

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First, a little history:

  1. Originally, there was one company called Philip Morris. I’m sure it was started by some dude with that name many years ago. Or maybe 2 dudes — Philip and Morris.
  2. 2003: Philip Morris changed its name to Altria, and it also acquired a number of other brands under that umbrella (including Kraft Foods).
  3. 2007: Altria’s food division spun out on its own (Kraft Foods currently trades on the NASDAQ as KRFT), making Altria primarily a tobacco stock (although they also own some alcohol companies).
  4. 2008: Altria spun PART OF its tobacco business off — some of their tobacco brands were retained as Altria (MO) and some of their tobacco brands owned by Philip Morris International (PM).

And THAT is how we have two Philip Morris brands.

Here is how those two Philip Morris brands break down:

  • Altria handles all US cigarette brands through a subsidiary, Philip Morris USA. This entity sells the following cigarette brands in the US: Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Benson & Hedges, Merit, Parliament, Alpine, Basic, Cambridge, Bucks, Dave’s, Chesterfield, Collector’s Choice, Commander, English Ovals, Lark, and L&M, Player (Source: Wikipedia). Altria also owns cigar and pipe tobacco companies, smokeless tobacco companies, wineries, and has shares in SABMiller (SAB).
  • Philip Morris International handles all international (non-USA) cigarette brands. This company sells the following brands outside of the US: Dji Sam Soe 234, L&M, Longbeach, Marathon, Marlboro, Minak Djinggo, ST Dupont Paris, U Mild, Philip Morris, Red and White, Basic, Bond Street, Chesterfield, Parliament, Lark, Merit, Morven Gold, Muratti, Skjold, Multifilter, Virginia Slims, Benson & Hedges, Escort, John Player & Sons, and Peter Stuyvesant.(Source: Wikipedia)

You’ll note that both companies own some of the same brands so the key to understanding the difference is: Altria sells their cigarettes only in the US and Philip Morris International sells their cigarettes everywhere else.


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