Altria Group, Inc. (Altria) (NYSE: MO) today announced its 2012 third-quarter and nine-month business results, reaffirmed its 2012 full-year adjusted diluted EPS guidance growth to be in a range of 7% to 9% and expanded its share repurchase program by $500 million.
"Altria delivered solid financial results for the third quarter and first nine months of 2012 while taking steps to strengthen its ability to create shareholder value in the future," said Marty Barrington, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Altria. "Our tobacco businesses grew their adjusted OCI, adjusted OCI margins and retail share for the third quarter and first nine months of 2012, while investing to develop their brands for the long term."
"The business performance of our operating companies enabled us to increase our already strong cash returns to shareholders," said Mr. Barrington. "Altria increased its dividend by 7.3% and repurchased over $260 million of our stock in the third quarter. Today, we are announcing a $500 million expansion of our $1.0 billion share repurchase program."
"The Company also took steps to enhance its capital structure," said Mr. Barrington. "We purchased high coupon debt and took on new lower cost debt. These actions reduced our 2018 and 2019 debt maturity towers, lowered our future interest expense and reduced our weighted average coupon rate."
A conference call with the investment community and news media will be webcast on October 25, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Access to the webcast is available at altria.com.
Altria's current cost reduction program for its tobacco and service company subsidiaries remains on track. The program, which was announced in the fourth quarter of 2011, is expected to deliver $400 million in annualized savings against previously planned spending by the end of 2013.