Altria Group, Inc. (Altria) (NYSE: MO) today announced that its Board of Directors voted to increase Altria’s regular quarterly dividend by 7.3% to $0.44 per common share versus the previous rate of $0.41 per common share. The quarterly dividend is payable on October 10, 2012 to shareholders of record as of September 14, 2012. The ex-dividend date is September 12, 2012. The new annualized dividend rate is $1.76 per common share, representing a yield of 5.3% based on Altria’s closing stock price of $33.45 on August 23, 2012. Today’s dividend increase reflects Altria’s intention to return a large amount of cash to shareholders in the form of dividends and is consistent with Altria’s dividend payout ratio target of approximately 80% of its adjusted diluted earnings per share. Altria has increased its dividend 46 times in the last 43 years.