increased its 2006 earnings forecast to reflect a reorganization of its business in the Dominican Republic.
The tobacco giant now sees full-year earnings of $5.63 to $5.68 a share, up from an earlier view of $5.48 to $5.53. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call predict earnings of $5.31 a share.
The company expects to get the 15-cent boost from reorganizing its holdings in the Dominican Republic. Altria said Thursday that it will exchange Philip Morris' 47.5% stake in E. Leon Jimenes, including a 40% stake in its beer subsidiary, for 100% ownership of ELJ's cigarette subsidiary. Altria, which will no longer hold an interest in ELJ's beer business after the deal, also will pay $427 million in cash.
Separately, Altria said at a conference Thursday that it expects to finalize the timing of its planned spinoff of
by Jan. 31.
Shares of Altria,
a Dow Jones Industrial Average
component, recently were up $1.51, or 1.8%, to $83.76.