Altria reaffirms 2012 full-year guidance for reported diluted earnings/share in range of US$2.14 to US$2.20

RICHMOND, Virginia , February 22, 2012 (press release) – Altria Group, Inc. (Altria) (NYSE: MO) is participating in the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference in Boca Raton, Florida today. The presentation will be webcast live at in a listen-only mode, beginning at approximately 9:15 a.m. Eastern Time.

During today’s presentation, Michael E. Szymanczyk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and other members of Altria’s senior management team will discuss why Altria remains a compelling investment and review Altria’s plans to continue delivering strong returns to its shareholders.

2012 Full-Year Guidance

Altria reaffirms its 2012 full-year guidance for reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) in the range of $2.14 to $2.20. The forecast includes estimated charges of $0.03 per share related to asset impairment, exit and implementation costs primarily related to the cost reduction program announced in October 2011, and estimated charges related to SABMiller special items.

Altria reaffirms that its 2012 full-year adjusted diluted EPS guidance, which excludes special items that are listed below in Table 1, will be in the range of $2.17 to $2.23, representing a growth rate of 6% to 9% from an adjusted base of $2.05 per share in 2011.

The factors described in the Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements section of this release represent continuing risks to this forecast. Reconciliations of full-year adjusted to reported diluted EPS are shown in Table 1 below.

Webcast Replay

A copy of today’s presentation and prepared remarks, as well as a replay of the audio webcast of the remarks, will be available at until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, March 23, 2012.

Financial Measures

Altria reports its consolidated financial results in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This press release contains 2011 results and 2012 guidance for diluted EPS on both a reported basis and on an adjusted basis, which excludes items that affect the comparability of reported results. Reconciliations of full-year adjusted to reported diluted EPS are shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1 - Altria’s Full-Year Earnings Per Share Guidance Excluding Special Items  
          Full Year  
          2012 Guidance         2011         Change  
Reported diluted EPS         $2.14 to $2.20         $ 1.64           30% to 34%  

Asset impairment, exit, integration and implementation costs

        0.02         0.07              
SABMiller special items         0.01         0.03              
PMCC leveraged lease charge         -         0.30              
Tax items*         -         (0.04 )            
Tobacco and health judgments         -         0.05              
Adjusted diluted EPS         $2.17 to $2.23         $ 2.05           6% to 9%  
* Excludes the tax impact included in the 2011 PMCC leveraged lease charge.

Altria’s Profile

Altria directly or indirectly owns 100% of each of Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM USA), U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company LLC (USSTC), John Middleton Co. (Middleton), Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd. (Ste. Michelle) and Philip Morris Capital Corporation. Altria holds a continuing economic and voting interest in SABMiller plc.

The brand portfolios of Altria’s tobacco operating companies include such well-known names as Marlboro, Copenhagen, Skoal and Black & Mild. Ste. Michelle produces and markets premium wines sold under various labels, including Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest, and it exclusively distributes and markets Antinori, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte and Villa Maria Estate products in the United States. Trademarks and service marks related to Altria referenced in this release are the property of, or licensed by, Altria or its subsidiaries. More information about Altria is available at


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