7 of 10
7. Altria Group
Altria Group
Industry rank: 3
Yes, even cigarette makers can be admired. Altria's roster of strong premium brands helped it keep customers despite the recession. Marlboro remains the most popular smoke in the U.S., accounting for a whopping 41.8% of cigarette sales at retail outlets. Add in Parliaments, Virginia Slims and others, and Altria made nearly half the cigarettes U.S. retailers sold last year.

And even as Americans downgraded their spending on many consumer products, the largest U.S. cigarette company increased non-cigarette sales. Its smokeless division -- i.e. chewing tobacco -- saw sales volume rise 4% in the latest quarter.

NEXT: Adobe Systems

Last updated March 04 2010: 7:58 AM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
Top 50 winners Which companies have the best reputations? Apple tops the list for the third year in a row. Who else made the top 50 this year? More
Full list: 346 Most Admired Admiration from consumers is great, but the true test of respect is approval from the competition. See how 346 top companies rate in 9 key areas. More
Most admired in your state California is home to the most corporations on this year's list. See the top-rated firms near you (including interactive maps). More