U.S. Smokeless Replenishing Inventories After Recall

RICHMOND, Va. — U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. (USSTC) is moving on from the recent recall of several products and replacing the inventory.

Speaking at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) meeting on Wednesday morning, Altria Chief Operating Officer Howard Willard said the company is "almost done replenishing retail and wholesale inventories with new product, and are confident USSTC will recover quickly and build on its excellent 2016 results."

USSTC is an operating company of Richmond-based Altria. CAGNY is taking place Feb. 20-24 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Fla.

In January, USSTC voluntarily recalled select cans of Cope, Copenhagen, Husky, and Skoal brands that were manufactured at its facility in Franklin Park, Ill. The recall was triggered by eight consumer complaints of foreign metal objects, including sharp metal objects, found in select cans. In each case, the object was visible to the consumer and there have been no reports of consumer injury, as CSNews Online previously reported.

According to Willard, the majority of USSTC's products were unaffected.

"Our focus here has been to protect our consumers from the hazard that the tampering presented and also to protect the long-term integrity of our brands," he explained, adding that the recall will affect Altria's smokeless segment in the short term.

Altria puts the current estimate for the recall's financial impact at an approximate $50-million to $70-million reduction to the segment's operating company's income, including the share impact.

Altria's wholly owned subsidiaries include Philip Morris USA Inc., U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. LLC, John Middleton Co., Nu Mark LLC, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd., and Philip Morris Capital Corp. Altria holds an equity investment in Anheuser-Busch InBev.

The brand portfolios of Altria's tobacco operating companies include Marlboro, Black & Mild, Copenhagen, Skoal, MarkTen and Green Smoke. 

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