Altria Group plans to reinvest one-third of tax reform benefit in 2018
CFO Billy Gifford says company continues to find substantial equivalence process "overly burdensome, inconsistent, and restrictive." Says FDA should issue clarifying regulations on SE process. Says will continue to work constructively with FDA. Reaffirms long-term goals of growing adjusted diluted EPS at an average annual rate of 7%-9% and maintaining a dividend payout ratio target of approximately 80% of adjusted diluted EPS. Says focused on maintaining investment-grade credit ratings. Says reinvesting behind important strategic initiatives as a result of tax reform. Says will increase investments in Marlboro with equity enhancements and innovative product development in 2018. Says plans to reinvest one-third of tax reform benefit in 2018. Says moderating level of investment in subsequent years. Believes approach will deliver annual adjusted diluted EPS growth rates above long-term 7%-9% goal through 2020.