Altria Holds Annual Meeting of Shareholders
*Martin J. Barrington succeeds Michael E. Szymanczyk as Altria’s Chairman
and CEO, following Mr. Szymanczyk’s retirement
*Altria announces Annual Meeting voting results
*Altria reaffirms 2012 full-year guidance for reported and adjusted diluted
earnings per share (EPS)
*Altria declares regular quarterly dividend of $0.41 per share
RICHMOND, Va. -- May 17, 2012
Altria Group, Inc. (Altria) (NYSE: MO) held its 2012 Annual Meeting of
Shareholders (Annual Meeting) today. In his last Annual Meeting as Altria’s
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Michael E. Szymanczyk updated
shareholders on Altria’s continuing progress against its corporate Mission,
which enables Altria to deliver superior returns to shareholders.
Appointment of Chairman and CEO
Following today’s Annual Meeting, Mr. Martin J. Barrington succeeded Mr.
Szymanczyk as Altria’s Chairman and CEO. Earlier this year, Mr. Szymanczyk had
announced his decision to retire after 23 years of distinguished service to
the Company, including four years as Chairman and CEO of Altria and 12 years
as President and CEO of Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM USA).
“I am very pleased that our Board has elected Marty Barrington to succeed me
as Chairman and CEO,” said Mr. Szymanczyk. “And I am equally pleased that they
have elected Dave Beran to work with Marty as President and Chief Operating
Officer. Marty and Dave have made significant contributions in a variety of
roles over the years. Their talent and experience give the Board, and me
personally, great confidence in their ability to lead Altria through its next
phase of growth.”
“I am very excited about Altria’s future,” said Mr. Barrington. “The Company
has a unique combination of terrific and profitable brands, a strong and
diverse balance sheet and truly talented people to drive growth into the
future. I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead this Company.”
Voting Results for Altria’s 2012 Annual Meeting
Altria’s shareholders elected to a one-year term each of the eleven nominees
for director named in Altria’s proxy statement; ratified the selection of
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as Altria’s independent registered public
accounting firm for the fiscal year ending 2012; approved on an advisory basis
the compensation of Altria’s named executive officers; and defeated one
shareholder proposal at today’s Annual Meeting. Final voting results will be
reported on a Current Report on Form 8-K.
2012 Full-Year Guidance
Altria reaffirms its 2012 full-year guidance for reported diluted EPS to be in
the range of $2.25 to $2.31, as updated in yesterday’s press release. The
forecast includes estimated net gains of $0.08 per share, reflecting estimated
net gains of $0.10 per share for SABMiller plc (SABMiller) special items,
partially offset by asset impairment, exit and implementation costs of $0.02
per share related to the cost reduction program that Altria announced in
Altria reaffirms its 2012 full-year guidance for adjusted diluted EPS, which
excludes special items shown in Table 1 below, to be in the range of $2.17 to
$2.23, representing a growth rate of 6% to 9% from an adjusted diluted EPS
base of $2.05 per share in 2011.
The factors described in the Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements section
of this release represent continuing risks to this forecast. Reconciliations
of full-year adjusted to reported diluted EPS are shown in Table 1 below.
Table 1 - Altria’s Full-Year Earnings Per Share Guidance Excluding Special
2012 2011 Change
Reported diluted EPS $2.25 to $ 1.64 37% to
Asset impairment, exit,
integration and 0.02 0.07
SABMiller special items (0.10 ) 0.03
PMCC leveraged lease - 0.30
Tax items* - (0.04 )
Tobacco and health - 0.05
Adjusted diluted EPS $2.17 to $ 2.05 6% to 9%
* Excludes the tax impact included in the 2011 PMCC leveraged lease charge.
Note: Altria reports its financial results, including diluted EPS, in
accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Altria’s
management uses adjusted measures, which exclude certain income and expense
items that management believes are not part of underlying operations, for
planning, forecasting and evaluating the performances of Altria’s businesses.
Altria’s management does not view any of these special items to be part of
Altria’s sustainable results as they may be highly variable and difficult to
predict and can distort underlying business trends and results.
Regular Quarterly Dividend
Following today’s Annual Meeting, Altria’s Board of Directors (Board) declared
a regular quarterly dividend of $0.41 per common share, payable on July 10,
2012, to shareholders of record as of June 15, 2012. The ex-dividend date is
June 13, 2012.
A copy of Mr. Szymanczyk’s business presentation and prepared remarks, as well
as a replay of the audio webcast of Altria’s Annual Meeting, are available on
altria.com until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, June 15, 2012.
Altria directly or indirectly owns 100% of each of PM USA, U.S. Smokeless
Tobacco Company LLC (USSTC), John Middleton Co. (Middleton), Ste. Michelle
Wine Estates Ltd. (Ste. Michelle) and Philip Morris Capital Corporation
(PMCC). Altria holds a continuing economic and voting interest in SABMiller.
The brand portfolios of Altria’s tobacco operating companies include such
well-known names as Marlboro, Copenhagen, Skoal and Black & Mild. Ste.
Michelle produces and markets premium wines sold under various labels,
including Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars,
and it exclusively distributes and markets Antinori, Champagne Nicolas
Feuillatte and Villa Maria Estate products in the United States. Trademarks
and service marks related to Altria referenced in this release are the
property of, or licensed by, Altria or its subsidiaries. More information
about Altria is available at altria.com.
Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements
This press release and today’s remarks contain projections of future results
and other forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and
uncertainties and are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor Provisions of the
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Important factors that may cause actual results and outcomes to differ
materially from those contained in the projections and forward-looking
statements included in this press release are described in Altria’s publicly
filed reports, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended
December 31, 2011 and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended
March 31, 2012.
These factors include the following: Altria’s tobacco businesses (PM USA,
USSTC and Middleton) are subject to significant competition; changes in adult
consumer preferences and demand for their products; fluctuations in raw
material availability, quality and cost; reliance on key facilities and
suppliers; reliance on critical information systems, many of which are managed
by third party services providers; fluctuations in levels of customer
inventories; the effects of global, national and local economic and market
conditions; changes to income tax laws; legislation, including actual and
potential federal and state excise tax increases; increasing marketing and
regulatory restrictions; the effects of price increases related to excise tax
increases and concluded tobacco litigation settlements on trade inventories,
consumption rates and consumer preferences within price segments; health
concerns relating to the use of tobacco products and exposure to environmental
tobacco smoke; privately imposed smoking restrictions; and, from time to time,
Furthermore, the results of Altria’s tobacco businesses are dependent upon
their continued ability to promote brand equity successfully; to anticipate
and respond to evolving adult consumer preferences; to develop new products
and markets within and potentially outside the United States; to broaden brand
portfolios in order to compete effectively; and to improve productivity.
Altria and its tobacco businesses are also subject to federal, state and local
government regulation, including broad-based regulation of PM USA and USSTC by
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Altria and its subsidiaries continue to
be subject to litigation, including risks associated with adverse jury and
judicial determinations, courts reaching conclusions at variance with the
companies’ understanding of applicable law, bonding requirements in the
limited number of jurisdictions that do not limit the dollar amount of appeal
bonds and certain challenges to bond cap statutes.
Altria cautions that the foregoing list of important factors is not complete
and does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements that it may
make except as required by applicable law. All subsequent written and oral
forward-looking statements attributable to Altria or any person acting on its
behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements
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