Altria May Spin Off Philip Morris Intl.

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Altria May Spin Off Philip Morris Intl.

NEW YORK -- Altria Group Inc.'s Board of Directors has announced its intention to pursue the spinoff Philip Morris International Inc. to Altria's shareholders. The Board expects to finalize its decision and announce the precise timing of the spinoff at its regularly scheduled meeting on January 30, 2008, according to a news release.

In addition to a final determination by the board, the spinoff of Philip Morris International will be subject to the receipt of a favorable ruling from the Internal Revenue Service; the receipt of an opinion of tax counsel; the effectiveness of a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission; as well as the execution of several intercompany agreements and the finalization of other matters.

Upon completion of the plan, it is anticipated that Michael E. Szymanczyk will be appointed chairman and chief executive officer of Altria Group Inc. and Louis C. Camilleri will assume that role at Philip Morris International Inc.

Altria's board also voted to increase the company's regular quarterly dividend to $0.75 per common share -- up 8.7 percent from the previous rate of $0.69 per common share, and representing an annualized rate of $3.00 per common share.

"Today's announcement underscores our sustained and determined commitment to create enduring long-term shareholder value. I am convinced that this transaction will enhance growth at both Altria and Philip Morris International," Camilleri said.

As of June 30, Altria Group owned 100 percent of Philip Morris International Inc., Philip Morris USA Inc. and Philip Morris Capital Corp. The brand portfolio of Altria's tobacco operating companies includes Marlboro, L&M, Parliament and Virginia Slims. Altria Group recorded 2006 net revenues from continuing operations of $67.1 billion.