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Altria Holds 2014 Annual Meeting Of Shareholders

Stocks in this article: MO

Altria Group, Inc. (Altria) (NYSE:MO) held its 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders (Annual Meeting) today. Altria’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Marty Barrington, updated shareholders on Altria’s continuing progress against its corporate Mission and core strategies, including creating substantial value for shareholders.

Voting Results for Altria's Annual Meeting

At the Annual Meeting, Altria's shareholders elected to a one-year term each of the 11 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 December 31, 2014, approved, on an advisory basis, the compensation of Altria's named executive officers, and defeated two shareholder proposals. Final voting results will be reported in a Current Report on Form 8-K.

2014 Full-Year Earnings Per Share Guidance

Altria reaffirms its 2014 full-year guidance for reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) to be in the range of $2.53 to $2.60. The forecast reflects the special items shown in the table below.

Altria also reaffirms its guidance for 2014 full-year adjusted diluted EPS, which excludes the special items shown in the table below, to be in the range of $2.52 to $2.59, representing a growth rate of 6% to 9% from an adjusted diluted EPS base of $2.38 in 2013.

The factors described in the Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements section of this release represent continuing risks to this forecast. Reconciliations of full-year reported to adjusted diluted EPS are shown in the table below.

Altria’s Full-Year EPS Guidance  
Full Year  
2014 Guidance   2013   Change
Reported diluted EPS $ 2.53   to   $ 2.60   $ 2.26 12%   to   15 %
NPM Adjustment Items 1 (0.02 ) (0.21 )
Tobacco and health judgments 0.01
SABMiller special items 0.01 0.01
Loss on early extinguishment of debt 0.34
Tax items             (0.03 )
Adjusted diluted EPS $ 2.52   to   $ 2.59     $ 2.38   6% to 9 %
                                     

1 Full-year 2013 reflects the impact of Philip Morris USA Inc.’s (PM USA) settlement with certain states and territories of the non-participating manufacturer (NPM) adjustment disputes for 2003-2012 (NPM Adjustment Settlement) and the diligent enforcement rulings of the arbitration panel presiding over the NPM adjustment dispute for 2003 (NPM Arbitration Panel Decision). Full-year 2014 reflects the impact of interest income related to the NPM Arbitration Panel Decision. For a full discussion of these matters and related litigation challenges, see Altria’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013 and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2014.

Regular Quarterly Dividend

Following the Annual Meeting, Altria’s Board of Directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.48 per common share, payable on July 10, 2014, to shareholders of record as of June 16, 2014. The ex-dividend date is June 12, 2014.

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