Phillip Morris: Smoke 'Em If You Own 'Em

| About: Philip Morris (PM)

Now this is an earnings release.....

Phillip Morris International (NYSE:PM) reported its first Post-Altria (NYSE:MO) spin quarter moments ago and investors ought to be celebrating.

The numbers:

  • Diluted earnings per share of $0.89, up 29.0% from $0.69, including the items detailed on Schedule 4
  • Adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.89, up 30.9% from the 2007 pro-forma adjusted earnings per share of $0.68, including the items detailed on Schedule 5
  • PMI increases its forecast for 2008 full-year diluted earnings per share, projecting growth of approximately 14% to 16% to a range of $3.18 to $3.24, from a revised 2007 pro-forma adjusted base of $2.79
  • PMI’s new guidance reflects favorable currency, business momentum and increased reinvestment in some key markets
  • PMI to acquire Interval and other trademarks in the Other Tobacco Products (NYSE:OTP) category from Imperial Tobacco Group PLC for 254 million euros

"Our robust first quarter results are a terrific start out of the gate,” said Louis Camilleri, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Importantly, we continue to witness an improvement in our business fundamentals as evidenced by the double-digit revenue and income growth recorded in each of our geographic segments.

PMI reaffirms its previously announced intention to pay a dividend at the initial rate of $0.46 per share per quarter, or $1.84 per common share on an annualized basis. PMI has established a dividend policy that anticipates a payout ratio of approximately 65%.

As previously announced, the $13.0 billion two-year share repurchase program for PMI is expected to begin in early May (12.3% of outstanding market cap).

This is what investors who held shares in the spin expected. Mid double digit EPS growth, a massive share repurchase and growth in markets.

This will be a great holding for a very long time...

Disclosure: Long PM,MO