Earnings Preview: Altria

Jan.30.08 | About: Altria Group, (MO)

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) is expected to report its Q4 earnings mid-morning Wednesday with a conference call scheduled for 1:00 pm ET.

Guidance

Analysts are expecting Q4 EPS of 97c on revenue of $9.19B. The consensus range for EPS is 96c to $1.01, and the consensus range for revenue is $8.9B to $9.62B, according to First Call. The company's expected results are considerably less than its year-over-year results of $1.27/$17.99B, due to the spin-off of its Kraft (KFT) unit. Altria is expected to announce the timing of its spin-off of Philip Morris International, while retaining Philip Morris USA, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes.

In addition to Philip Morris USA, Altria will also retain a 28.6% stake in beer maker SABMiller (OTCPK:SBMRY), maker of Miller Genuine Draft. On the conference call, investors will be looking for comments on the success of the Kraft spin-off and the timing of the Philip Morris International spin-off, as well as any color on the "Lights" case that will be heard by the Supreme Court.

Media analysis

Both Barron's Magazine, on January 28, and Jim Cramer, on January 25, were bullish on Altria. Barron's said it believed Altria was an excellent company that was oversold, while Jim Cramer liked Altria for its 4.25% dividend.