Philip Morris Int'l income up nearly 8 percent

A cigarette vending machine sits at a bar in Montpelier, Vt., Monday, Oct. 13, 1997. A law passed by the Legislature this year banned all cigarette vending machines in the state as of August 28, 1997. However, Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell has ruled that enforcement of the law will not begin until March 1998. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

RICHMOND, Va. - Cigarette maker Philip Morris International (PM) says its fourth-quarter net income grew nearly 8 percent as it commanded higher prices for its brands.

The seller of Marlboro and other cigarette brands outside the U.S. said Thursday it earned $1.88 billion, or $1.08 per share, for the period ended Dec. 31. That's up from $1.75 billion, or 96 cents per share, a year ago.

Adjusted earnings were $1.10 per share, matching analyst expectations.

Excluding excise taxes, revenue grew 9 percent to $7.67 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $7.39 billion.

Philip Morris International Inc. says it shipped less than 1 percent more cigarettes than last year's quarter. Gains in Asia helped offset declines in the European Union, and Latin American and Canada.