LONDON (Reuters) – Philip Morris International (PM.N), maker of Marlboro cigarettes among others, reported higher than expected quarterly sales and profit on Thursday, helped by its IQOS tobacco-heating device.

FILE PHOTO: The Philip Morris iQOS heat-not-burn electronic cigarette is pictured in this illustration photo April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/Illustration

The company reported third-quarter earnings per share of $1.44, ahead of $1.27 in the same period last year and analysts’ average estimate of $1.28, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

Net revenue was $7.5 billion, up 0.4 percent, held back by currency fluctuations. Analysts had expected $7.17 billion.

Total volume of cigarette and heated tobacco units was 203.7 billion, down 2.1 percent. Excluding the impact of estimated distributor inventory movements, volume was up 1.1 percent, the company said.

Philip Morris stood by its 2018 forecast for diluted earnings per share of between $4.97 and $5.02 at prevailing exchange rates. Excluding currency fluctuations, it said its forecast represented growth in adjusted earnings of 8-9 percent.

Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by David Goodman

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