Share Buybacks: Altria 

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March 2024

Altria reduced its stake in Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) to buyback own shares. Altria agreed to sell 35Mn shares of ABI through a global secondary offering at a price of $61.5 per ADS (BUD) and €56.17 per ABI ordinary share. In addition, ABI will repurchase $200Mn of shares directly from Altria. The aggregate amount of the offering and repurchase by ABI is ~$2.4Bn. Altria also granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to 5.25Mn additional ABI shares at the price per ADS ($323Mn), exercisable within the next 30 days (eventually not exercised). Altria’s remaining ownership of ABI will be ~159Mn shares or ~8.1%.

Following the stake sell, Altria increased the existing $1Bn share repurchase program (SRP) to $3.4Bn (~4.5% of share capital). Subsequently, Altria entered into accelerated share repurchase (ASR) agreements with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to repurchase $2.4Bn of its common stock. On March 19, 2024, Altria received ~46.5 million shares of its common stock, representing 85% of the ASR Program. Altria will receive shares representing the remaining 15% of the ASR Program by June 30, 2024. After the completion of the ASR Program, Altria expects to have $1 billion remaining under the currently authorized $3.4 billion SRP (to completed by December 31, 2024).

Moreover, reflecting the balance of lower weighted-average shares outstanding versus the lower equity earnings from ABI, Altria raised FY24 adjusted diluted EPS guidance from $5.00-$5.10 to $5.05-$5.17, representing a growth rate of 2%-4.5% over the base of $4.95 in 2023.

Feburary 2024

In 2023, Altria repurchased 22.7Mn shares at an average price of $43.96 for a total cost of $1Bn. Subsequently, Altria launched a new $1Bn share repurchase program which will be completed by December 31, 2024.

October 2023

In the first 9 months of 2023, Altria repurchased 16.3Mn shares at an average price of $44.97 for a total cost of $732Mn. Altria shares declined 8% in this period (versus 7.7% decline in Consumer Staples ETF). At the end of Q3 2023, Altria had $268Mn remaining under the current $1Bn repurchase program (to be completed by the end of 2023). We expect Altria to remove 22.5-23Mn from the market in 2023 – corresponding to 1.3% of the share capital (modest compared to the Imperial and STG’s programs).

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