Altria Group (NYSE: MO) reported adjusted Q4 earnings of $1.18 per share, up by 8.3% year-over-year and beating consensus estimates of $1.17. The producer and marketer of tobacco products posted revenues (net of excise taxes) of $5.1 billion, a decline of 0.1% year-over-year and missing Street expectations by $70 million.
The company’s Board of Directors authorized a new stock buyback program worth $1 billion that is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Altria paid dividends worth $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter and over the long term has projected to maintain a dividend payout ratio of 80% of its adjusted diluted EPS.
Looking forward, management now anticipates FY23 adjusted diluted EPS to be in the range of $4.98 to $5.13 per share, a growth rate in the range of 3% to 6% versus $4.84 in FY22. For reference, analysts are expecting an adjusted EPS of $5 in FY23.
Overall, Wall Street analysts are sidelined about MO stock with a Hold consensus rating based on one Buy, two Holds, and two Sells.