March 19, 2020 / 11:09 PM / in 19 days

Altria suspends operations at manufacturing center in Richmond

(Reuters) - U.S. Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc (MO.N) said on Thursday it is temporarily cancelling operations at its Philip Morris USA unit’s manufacturing facility at Richmond, as a second employee had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The company said it expects the manufacturing center to suspend operations for the next two weeks as Philip Morris USA will continue to monitor the “evolving situation”.

The virus outbreak has affected more than 227,700 people across 175 countries, based on a Reuters tally, and caused 150 deaths in the United States.

Philip Morris USA believes it has sufficient finished goods cigarette inventory for about two months based on current estimated shipping volume, in addition to current wholesale and retail inventories, Altria said.

Richmond, Virginia-based Altria also announced suspension of some John Middleton domestic operations for two weeks due to supply chain constraints related to the outbreak.

John Middleton believes it has sufficient finished goods cigar inventory for about three months, Altria said.

Altria’s shares were down 1% at $36.73 in extended trading.

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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