Tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris International (PMI) has discussions with producer Altria Group to merge again. More than ten years ago the two tobacco giants split up.

As a result of the report, the Altria share rose by 8 percent at the start of the trading day, while that of Philip Morris fell by 6 percent in value. Added together, the market value of the merged company would be $ 200 billion (more than $ 180 billion).

In 2008, the company named Philip Morris Companies broke down in order to unleash the value of the fastest growing business unit. PMI would focus on "sales growth in emerging markets", where there is more freedom for tobacco companies. Altria continued to focus on the United States, where more stringent regulations apply.

On Monday, an analyst from US bank Wells Fargo stated that Philip Morris would be the ideal partner for e-cigarette company Juul Labs to expand internationally. Altria already has a 35 percent stake in this company, following an investment of $ 12.8 billion in 2018.

Shrinkage of cigarette sales

PMI and Altria offer the same cigarette brands, including Marlboro and L&M. The second, however, only sells them within the US, while Philip Morris serves all other markets. The two are both struggling with declining sales, as the number of smokers is decreasing and e-cigarette manufacturers are growing at the expense of tobacco manufacturers.

In 2018, the overall sales volume of cigarettes shrank by 4.5 percent. E-cigarette sales are expected to increase by 8 percent per year in the coming five years.