Altria Group, Inc. (Altria) (NYSE:MO) today announced that its Board of Directors voted to increase Altria's regular quarterly dividend by 8.0% to $0.61 per common share versus the previous rate of $0.565 per common share. The quarterly dividend is payable on October 11, 2016, to shareholders of record as of September 15, 2016. The ex-dividend date is September 13, 2016. The new annualized dividend rate is $2.44 per common share, representing a yield of 3.7% based on Altria's closing stock price of $66.33 on August 19, 2016. 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 50 times in the past 47 years.