With more than 1 billion smokers worldwide, it is hard to conceive that companies selling cigarettes would not be extremely profitable. In addition, the majority of people who are smokers also tend to be alcohol consumers. One company that services both of these vices is Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO).
Altria Group is a holding company; its wholly owned subsidiaries consist of Phillip Morris USA Inc., U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. (prior to 2001 it was known as United States Tobacco Inc.), John Middleton Co. and Phillip Morris Capital Corp.
On Jan. 6 2009, Altria Group purchased UST Inc. in a $10 billion deal that gave the maker of Marlboro cigarettes an entrée into the "smokeless tobacco" market, thanks to UST's ownership of the Skoal and Copenhagen brands.