Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM) comments on an English Court’s decision to uphold the UK’s plain packaging regulations.
In May 2015, PMI and other companies sought a ruling on whether those regulations, which make it illegal to use registered trademarks, were a proportionate public health measure and compliant with English law.
Marc Firestone, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of PMI, said:
“We are certainly disappointed but understand that the English Court ultimately deferred to the Parliament’s judgment about cigarette packaging. Inexplicably, however, the Court’s reasoning relies heavily on a 2006 decision by a judge in the United States in a case about US law to which PMI was not even a party, and did not concern plain packaging.
In conflict with basic rules of procedure, the Court relied on that case even though it was not included in the parties’ bundles of authorities, and the parties were not asked to address it at the hearing. This surprising departure from basic principles of English law raises serious questions about the process, and undoubtedly presents strong grounds for appeal.
The broader question, however, is what actions make the most sense for the seven million adult smokers in the UK. Despite the important principles in this one case, we’ve decided not to appeal.
We will instead maintain our focus on efforts to develop and commercialize scientifically substantiated reduced-risk products that we firmly believe will ultimately benefit UKsmokers and public health much more than plain packaging.” (Original Source)
Shares of Philip Morris International closed yesterday at $98.95, down $0.89 or -0.89%. PM has a 1-year high of $102.55 and a 1-year low of $76.54. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $99.55 and its 200-day moving average is $91.39.
On the ratings front, Philip Morris has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on April 20, Goldman Sachs analyst Judy Hong maintained a Hold rating on PM, with a price target of $101, which represents a slight upside potential from current levels. Separately, on April 4, Morgan Stanley’s Matthew Grainger reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $110.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Judy Hong and Matthew Grainger have a total average return of 17.8% and 3.5% respectively. Hong has a success rate of 71.4% and is ranked #196 out of 3842 analysts, while Grainger has a success rate of 50.0% and is ranked #1106.
The street is mostly Bullish on PM stock. Out of 4 analysts who cover the stock, 3 suggest a Buy rating and one recommends to Hold the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $106.67, which implies an upside of 7.8% from current levels.