CORRECTED – UPDATE 2-Altria profit helped by tax benefit

(Corrects figures for profit and revenue from million to
billion)

* 3rd-quarter EPS $0.54 vs Wall St $0.52 view

* Cigarette volume 36.6 bln, down 2.4 pct

* Sticks by full-year forecast, ex-items

* Shares flat
(Adds revenue, retail share, tax details)

NEW YORK, Oct 20 (BestGrowthStock) – Altria Group Inc (MO.N: ), the
largest U.S. tobacco company, posted a better-than-expected
quarterly profit, helped by a tax benefit and cost cuts.

The company also stuck to its full-year earnings forecast,
excluding one-time items.

Like most tobacco companies, Altria, which sells Marlboro
cigarettes and Skoal smokeless tobacco, has relied on
cost-cutting measures and cigarette price increases to help
boost earnings in a U.S. market where smoking has steadily
declined.

Altria said third-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) was $1.13 billion, or 54
cents a share, compared with $882 million, or 42 cents a share,
a year earlier.

Analysts on average forecast 52 cents, according to Thomson
Reuters I/B/E/S.

Altria recorded a $33 million benefit from reversing some
tax reserves and interest after state audits were completed,
the company said.

Altria shipped 36.6 billion cigarettes in the quarter, down
2.4 percent from a year earlier.

Quarterly revenue rose to $6.4 billion, up 1.6 percent over
a year ago.

The company’s leading Marlboro cigarette increased its
retail share 0.7 percent for the quarter, though cigarette
share as a whole edged lower by 0.1 percent.

Altria shares were $24.75 in premarket trading, unchanged
from Tuesday’s New York Stock Exchange close.
(Reporting by Jon Lentz, Editing by Derek Caney)

CORRECTED – UPDATE 2-Altria profit helped by tax benefit