Philip Morris says Canadian unit RBH granted creditor protection

FILE PHOTO: Packs of Benson & Hedges cigarettes are on display in a tobacco shop in Vienna, Austria, May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

(Reuters) – Philip Morris International Inc on Friday said its Canadian unit, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc (RBH), was granted creditor protection, following a tobacco class action ruling in Quebec earlier this month.

The company said it would deconsolidate RBH from its financial statements, and it cut its full-year 2019 diluted earnings per share forecast to at least $4.90 at prevailing exchange rates, from at least $5.28 in the forecast it made on March 4, shortly after the ruling in Quebec.

The Court of Appeal of Quebec upheld the bulk of a 2015 decision that awarded around C$15 billion to smokers in the Canadian province, a blow to several big tobacco companies, including RBH.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler

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