Speculation that Altria could sell its 28.7% stake in SABMiller followed Thursday’s dismissal by Florida’s highest court of a $145bn (£79bn) damages award against the US tobacco industry. The Financial Times says one consequence of the ruling is that Altria, a big player in the cigarettes market, can now start formally planning its break-up, which should be completed by the end of the year. Credit Suisse believes Altria, parent company of Philip Morris and Kraft Foods, will wait for SABMiller shares to recover from their recent weakness before selling. However, the broker says it is also possible Philip Morris USA will retain the SABMiller stake as collateral against any future US tobacco litigation. SABMiller closed down 1% at 960.5p with traders taking the view that “overhang” rumours would continue to dog the share price. Financial Times 08/07/06 page 36 (FT Markets Week – London) The Times 08/07/06 page 61 (Large Caps)