Altria’s “Back to School” presentation

We’re not sure who was responsible for coming up with the name “Back to School Conference” that Barclay’s Capital is putting on in Boston yesterday and today that includes companies like Altria (MO) and Constellation Brands (STZ). Granted, they are just two of the many companies presenting. But there’s clearly something a bit odd about looking at Altria’s deck and seeing the words “Back to School” on a slideshow that delves into cigarette and tobacco sales, given the concerns about underage smoking.

Still, the slideshow is pretty interesting and worth a quick skim. Indeed, unlike a lot of the decks we see attached to 8-Ks, we usually find Altria’s pretty interesting, as we footnoted here back in February. There’s a slide that shows how state excise taxes have increased in 11 states and Puerto Rico and that federal excise taxes have more than doubled. Another slide shows that while the average price of a pack of cigarettes has increased by 25%, the volume has only fallen by 8%. During the presentation, Altria also reaffirmed its guidance for the rest of the year and said that the higher taxes would result in lower earning-per-share growth.

We also liked the slide where Altria talked about increased federal regulation — the FDA now regulates tobacco products — because it “promotes more predictability in the tobacco industry.” One of the slides has the FDA timeline for implementing various aspects of the regulation, starting this month and running through June 2011. In the deck, Altria also noted that it has created a “regulatory affairs” department to deal with the new regulations. Now if only they could change the “Back to School” theme.

Image source: Mel Evans/Associated Press