Why We're Buying Philip Morris International

The video below is part of The Motley Fool's "11 O'Clock Stock" series, where we're recommending a new stock every weekday at 11 a.m. ET on Fool.com for 50 weekdays. To see a video of co-founder Tom Gardner explaining the series, click here. To see our original recommendation of Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM  ) , click here.

Fool analyst Anand Chokkavelu is back on the sin wagon. After making Altria (NYSE: MO  ) an 11 O'Clock Stock pick, he's completing the set by recommending its sister company, Philip Morris International.

See the video featuring Erin Corr and Anand below, or skip to the write-up underneath the video:

As it did with Kraft (NYSE: KFT  ) in 2007, Altria spun off Philip Morris International in 2008. The Kraft spinoff sheltered the food business from the litigation risk of the tobacco business. The Philip Morris International spinoff split the tobacco business into U.S. operations (Altria) and business everywhere else (Philip Morris International). Hence, the two companies share the dominant Marlboro brand.

The upshot for investors is the ability to choose between Altria's operations in the mature U.S. market (and its 6.7% dividend yield) and Philip Morris' operations in the still growth-y international markets (and its 4.5% dividend yield). Alternately, you could mix and match between the two.

The strategy's similar to what another popular dividend stock (and previous 11 O'Clock Stock pick), Annaly Capital (NYSE: NLY  ) , has done with its related companies. Packing a 15.9% dividend yield, Annaly is a REIT that invests in mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by government-backed entities such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It also manages the portfolios of related REITs Chimera (NYSE: CIM  ) , with a 17.3% dividend yield, and Crexus (NYSE: CXS  ) , with a 4% dividend yield. Chimera basically does the same thing as Annaly, but with non-guaranteed securities; Crexus invests in commercial real estate, rather than residential.

Like the stock version of candy-by-the-pound, both the Altria/Philip Morris International and Annaly/Chimera/Crexus groupings allow investors to allocate to taste.

In the case of Philip Morris International, investors can get more potential growth than Altria. Altria dominates the U.S. markets with a 50% market share. Although Philip Morris International is the big dog outside of the U.S. and China (where China National Tobacco has a virtual monopoly), it only has a 16% market share outside the U.S. It may be able to wrest away some incremental market share from competitors like British American Tobacco (NYSE: BTI  ) , but Philip Morris sees a bigger opportunity in more deeply penetrating markets like India and Vietnam. It's also started a strategic joint venture with China National Tobacco to cross-sell products.

That growth comes with the inherent tobacco risks of increased litigation and excise taxes as well as country-specific risks.

However, given its brand power, growth opportunities, and dividend yield, Philip Morris International merits consideration in a balanced portfolio. For the original recommendation, including a discussion on valuation, click here.

Anand Chokkavelu owns shares of Philip Morris International and Altria. Philip Morris International is a Motley Fool Global Gains pick. The Fool owns shares of Altria and Annaly Capital Management. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2010, at 8:02 PM, xp308 wrote:

    Thank you for the article. I am a big fan of both MO and PM. While MO may not have too much growth opportunities in the US with cigarettes they are getting into the chewing tobacco arena. PM has more room to grow internationally than MO does domestically. Both are great companies.

  • Report this Comment On September 01, 2010, at 2:13 PM, madmilker wrote:

    I'm buying TCCO....why ain't you.

  • Report this Comment On September 01, 2010, at 2:14 PM, madmilker wrote:

    oh! all ready have a boatload of MO and PM...I just love those dividends....

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