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Altria's MarkTen Getting Supersized

RICHMOND, Va. — A little more than six months after rolling out nationally, MarkTen is moving to the next level.

Speaking at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference this week, The Altria Group Inc. said its subsidiary Nu Mark LLC is prepping the launch of MarkTen XL, which features two times the liquid and battery strength vs. MarkTen currently. Nu Mark is also readying two new MarkTen flavors — Fusion and Winter Mint.

MarkTen XL will start shipping into a lead market in the second quarter, according to Bonnie Herzog, managing director of beverage, tobacco and convenience store research at Wells Fargo Securities LLC.

"Interestingly, Altria believes strongly in the portfolio approach and commented that [the company] 'is not so vain' to think it can develop all the best ideas in vapor and thus would be open to future acquisitions in the space, in addition to continued strong focus on its own robust [research and development] capabilities," she said.

Also at the CAGNY conference, Richmond-based Altria announced that Philip Morris International will begin distributing MarkTen in certain international markets in the first quarter, pursuant to the two companies' strategic partnership.

Philip Morris International will distribute the electronic cigarette under the Solaris brand name in Spain in March.

"We remain very optimistic on the global opportunities for vapor and we believe Philip Morris International and Altria will eventually be market leaders," Herzog noted.

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