Reynolds American profit soars

Cost cuts, a tax benefit and better product mix helped Reynolds American push its first-quarter earnings up almost 23% even as the cigarette giant posted flat revenue and yet another volume decline.

Before the start of trading Thursday, Reynolds said that it earned $345 million, or $2.34 a share — up from $281 million, or $1.90 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, like a $65 million bonus from the favorable resolution of past tax issues, earnings would have been $1.89 a share.

Revenue came in at $1.96 billion, even with the first quarter of 2005. Volume, however, declined 1.6%.

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