Saturday, June 2, 2007

Altria (MO) Board Announces...... Nothing

The Board of Directors of Altria Group, Inc. (MO) Friday declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.69 per common share, payable on July 10, 2007, to stockholders of record as of June 15, 2007. The ex-dividend date is June 13, 2007. The new dividend rate reflects an adjustment for the Kraft (KFT) spin-off, which was completed on March 30, 2007. Now don't get me wrong, a 3.8% dividend that grows and is as close to money in the bank as you can get is nice, but not really what we were hoping for.

What we really wanted was something about a share buyback, PMI spin, maybe a nice fat increase in that dividend? But, nothing.

Now based on Altria's history, shareholders in all reality have nothing to worry about. These will come, we will benefit and the stock will rise. It is just when you get yourself ready for something and it does not happen, you feel a bit let down. Couldn't you even have hinted about it guys?

Now the option players are betting on an announcement by January. Open call interest for the January options is huge and where some of the most active options traded last week. For the $90 strike price there over 100,000 contracts open and the $85 and $100 prices each have over 50,000 contracts open, representing 200 million shares.

The Kraft spin was officially announced in January of 2007 so it seems folks are betting on similar timing for these other moves.

I guess we will just have to keep collecting our fat dividend, sit back and wait.

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