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    UST Sticks to Its Financial Forecast

    As "Project Momentum" gets underway, company sees positive year end.

    CHICAGO -- U.S. Smokeless Tobacco (UST) has confirmed its full-year fiscal 2007 forecasts, attributing growth to a strong smokeless tobacco market, while stating that volume trends are looking up for such premium brands as Copenhagen and Skoal.

    Reuters reported that the company affirmed it would earn between $3.02 and $3.11 per share this year -- its target being $3.07 -- excluding restructuring charges. According to Reuters estimates, analysts believe that the Greenwich, Conn.-based UST will reach its target.

    UST is still finalizing numbers on restructuring charges, which will be taken from the third quarter, and is due to the announcement of its cost-cutting initiative. The plan, named "Project Momentum," is expected to rake in $100 million in savings over the next three years, according to Reuters.

    After Wednesday's announcement, UST shares rose to $54.63, its highest since April 2005. UST's shares have grown nearly 33 percent in fiscal 2006 to date.

    The company has also begun test marketing Skoal Dry, a spit-less smokeless tobacco product. Skoal Dry is aimed at smokers who wish to discreetly reduce nicotine cravings when in places they can not smoke due to anti-smoking legislation.

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