Altria Group, Inc. (Altria) (NYSE: MO) today announced that its Board of Directors voted to increase Altria's regular quarterly dividend by 6.1% to $0.70 per common share versus the previous rate of $0.66 per common share. The quarterly dividend is payable on April 10, 2018, to shareholders of record as of March 15, 2018. The ex-dividend date is March 14, 2018. The new annualized dividend rate is $2.80 per common share, representing a yield of 4.3% based on Altria's closing stock price of $64.59 on February 23, 2018. 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 52 times in the past 49 years.