10-K 1 a2018form10-kq4.htm FORM 10-K Document
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
x
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018
OR
¨
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                     to                     
Commission File Number 1-08940
ALTRIA GROUP, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Virginia
13-3260245
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
 
 
6601 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia
23230
(Address of principal executive offices)
(Zip Code)
804-274-2200
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
               Title of each class               
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
 
Common Stock, $0.33  1/3 par value
New York Stock Exchange
1.000% Notes due 2023
New York Stock Exchange
1.700% Notes due 2025
New York Stock Exchange
2.200% Notes due 2027
New York Stock Exchange
3.125% Notes due 2031
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. þ Yes ¨ No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. ¨ Yes þ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days þ Yes ¨   No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files) þ Yes ¨ No
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K þ
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
     Large accelerated filer þ                                                                                   Accelerated filer ¨  
     Non-accelerated filer ¨ (Do not check if smaller reporting company) Smaller operating company ¨
Emerging growth company ¨
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). ¨Yes þ No
As of June 30, 2018, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $107 billion based on the closing sale price of the common stock as reported on the New York Stock Exchange.
                          Class                           
 
Outstanding at February 12, 2019
 
Common Stock, $0.33  1/3 par value
1,874,430,847 shares
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for use in connection with its annual meeting of shareholders to be held on May 16, 2019, to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on or about April 4, 2019, are incorporated by reference into Part III hereof.







 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
 
Page
PART I
 
 
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
 
 
 
PART II
 
 
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
 
 
 
PART III
 
 
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
 
 
 
PART IV
 
 
Item 15.
Item 16.
 
 
 





Part I
Item 1. Business.
General Development of Business
General: Altria Group, Inc. (“Altria”) is a holding company incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1985. At December 31, 2018, Altria’s wholly-owned subsidiaries included Philip Morris USA Inc. (“PM USA”), which is engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes in the United States; John Middleton Co. (“Middleton”), which is engaged in the manufacture and sale of machine-made large cigars and pipe tobacco and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PM USA; Sherman Group Holdings, LLC and its subsidiaries (“Nat Sherman”), which are engaged in the manufacture and sale of super premium cigarettes and the sale of premium cigars; and UST LLC (“UST”), which through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, including U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company LLC (“USSTC”) and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd. (“Ste. Michelle”), is engaged in the manufacture and sale of smokeless tobacco products and wine. Altria’s other operating companies included Philip Morris Capital Corporation (“PMCC”), which maintains a portfolio of finance assets, substantially all of which are leveraged leases, and Nu Mark LLC (“Nu Mark”), both of which are wholly-owned subsidiaries. In December 2018, Altria announced the decision to refocus its innovative product efforts, which included Nu Mark’s discontinuation of production and distribution of all e-vapor products. Prior to that time, Nu Mark was engaged in the manufacture and sale of innovative tobacco products. Other Altria wholly-owned subsidiaries included Altria Group Distribution Company, which provides sales and distribution services to certain Altria operating subsidiaries, and Altria Client Services LLC (“ALCS”), which provides various support services in areas such as legal, regulatory, consumer engagement, finance, human resources and external affairs to Altria and its subsidiaries.
Altria’s reportable segments are smokeable products, smokeless products and wine. The financial services and the innovative tobacco products businesses are included in an all other category due to the continued reduction of the lease portfolio of PMCC and the relative financial contribution of Altria’s innovative tobacco products businesses to Altria’s consolidated results. For further information, see Note 16. Segment Reporting to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Item 8”).
At September 30, 2016, Altria had an approximate 27% ownership of SABMiller plc (“SABMiller”), which Altria accounted for under the equity method of accounting. In October 2016, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (“Legacy AB InBev”) completed its business combination with SABMiller, and Altria received cash and shares representing a 9.6% ownership in the combined company (the “AB InBev Transaction”). The newly formed Belgian company, which retained the name Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (“AB InBev”), became the holding company for the combined businesses. Subsequently, Altria purchased approximately 12 million ordinary shares of AB InBev, increasing Altria’s ownership to approximately 10.2% at
 
December 31, 2016. At December 31, 2018, Altria had an approximate 10.1% ownership of AB InBev, which Altria accounts for under the equity method of accounting using a one-quarter lag. As a result of the one-quarter lag and the timing of the completion of the AB InBev Transaction, no earnings from Altria’s equity investment in AB InBev were recorded for the year ended December 31, 2016. For further discussion, see Note 7. Investment in AB InBev/SABMiller to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 7”).
In January 2017, Altria acquired Nat Sherman, which joined PM USA and Middleton as part of Altria’s smokeable products segment.
On December 20, 2018, Altria purchased, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, shares of non-voting convertible common stock of JUUL Labs, Inc. (“JUUL”), representing a 35% economic interest for $12.8 billion. JUUL is engaged in the manufacture and sale of e-vapor products globally. If and when antitrust clearance is obtained, Altria’s non-voting shares will automatically convert to voting shares (“Share Conversion”). At December 31, 2018, Altria accounted for its investment in JUUL as an investment in an equity security. Upon Share Conversion, Altria expects to account for its investment in JUUL under the equity method of accounting. For further discussion, see Note 8. Investment in JUUL to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 8”).
On December 7, 2018, Altria announced that it entered into an agreement to purchase, through a subsidiary, approximately 146.2 million newly issued common shares of Cronos Group Inc. (“Cronos”), a global cannabinoid company headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Cronos shareholders approved the transaction on February 21, 2019. The closing of this transaction remains subject to certain customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approval. Altria expects the transaction to close in the first half of 2019. Upon completion of this transaction, Altria will own an approximate 45% equity interest in Cronos. Additionally, the agreement includes a warrant to purchase up to an additional approximately 72.2 million common shares of Cronos at a per share exercise price of Canadian dollar (“CAD”) $19.00. The purchase price for the approximate 45% equity interest and warrant is approximately CAD $2.4 billion (approximately U.S. dollar (“USD”) $1.8 billion, based on the CAD to USD exchange rate on February 22, 2019), to be paid on the date of the closing of the transaction. Upon full exercise of the warrant, which expires four years after issuance, Altria would own approximately 55% of the outstanding common shares of Cronos. The exercise price for the warrant is approximately CAD $1.4 billion (approximately USD $1.0 billion, based on the CAD to USD exchange rate on February 22, 2019). As part of the agreement, upon completion of this transaction, Altria will have the right to nominate four directors, including one independent director, to serve on Cronos’ Board of Directors, which will be expanded from five to seven directors. Altria expects to account for its investment in Cronos under the equity method of accounting.
In January and February 2019, Altria entered into derivative financial instruments in the form of forward contracts, which mature on April 15, 2019, to hedge Altria’s exposure to foreign


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currency exchange rate movements in the CAD to USD, in relation to the CAD $2.4 billion purchase price for the Cronos transaction. The aggregate notional amounts of the forward contracts were approximately USD $1.8 billion (CAD $2.4 billion). The forward contracts do not qualify for hedge accounting; therefore, changes in the fair values of the forward contracts will be recorded as gains or losses in Altria’s consolidated statements of earnings in the periods in which the changes occur.
Source of Funds: Because Altria is a holding company, its access to the operating cash flows of its wholly-owned subsidiaries consists of cash received from the payment of dividends and distributions, and the payment of interest on intercompany loans by its subsidiaries. In addition, Altria receives cash dividends on its interest in AB InBev and will continue to do so as long as AB InBev pays dividends. Altria expects to receive cash dividends from JUUL, if and when JUUL pays such dividends.
Narrative Description of Business
Portions of the information called for by this Item are included in Operating Results by Business Segment in Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of this Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Item 7”).
Tobacco Space
Altria’s tobacco operating companies include PM USA, USSTC and other subsidiaries of UST, Middleton and Nat Sherman. Altria Group Distribution Company provides sales and distribution services to Altria’s tobacco operating companies.
The products of Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries include smokeable tobacco products, consisting of combustible cigarettes manufactured and sold by PM USA and Nat Sherman, machine-made large cigars and pipe tobacco manufactured and sold by Middleton and premium cigars sold by Nat Sherman; smokeless tobacco products, consisting of moist smokeless tobacco (“MST”) and snus products manufactured and sold by USSTC; and innovative tobacco products, including e-vapor products previously manufactured and sold by Nu Mark.
Cigarettes: PM USA is the largest cigarette company in the United States. Marlboro, the principal cigarette brand of PM USA, has been the largest-selling cigarette brand in the United States for over 40 years. Nat Sherman sells substantially all of its super premium cigarettes in the United States. Total smokeable products segment’s cigarettes shipment volume in the United States was 109.8 billion units in 2018, a decrease of 5.8% from 2017.
Cigars: Middleton is engaged in the manufacture and sale of machine-made large cigars and pipe tobacco. Middleton contracts with a third-party importer to supply a majority of its cigars and sells substantially all of its cigars to customers in the United States. Black & Mild is the principal cigar brand of Middleton. Nat Sherman sources all of its cigars from third-party suppliers and sells substantially all of its cigars to customers in the United States. Total smokeable products segment’s cigars shipment volume was approximately 1.6 billion units in 2018, an increase of 3.8% from 2017.
 
Smokeless tobacco products: USSTC is the leading producer and marketer of MST products. The smokeless products segment includes the premium brands, Copenhagen and Skoal, and value brands, Red Seal and Husky. Substantially all of the smokeless tobacco products are manufactured and sold to customers in the United States. Total smokeless products segment’s shipment volume was 832.6 million units in 2018, a decrease of 1.0% from 2017.
Innovative tobacco products: In December 2018, Altria announced the decision to refocus its innovative product efforts, which includes Nu Mark’s discontinuation of production and distribution of all e-vapor products. Prior to that time, Nu Mark participated in the e-vapor category and developed and commercialized other innovative tobacco products. In 2013, Nu Mark introduced MarkTen e-vapor products. In April 2014, Nu Mark acquired the e-vapor business of Green Smoke, Inc. and its affiliates, which began selling e-vapor products in 2009. In 2018 and 2017, Altria’s subsidiaries purchased certain intellectual property related to innovative tobacco products.
In December 2013, Altria’s subsidiaries entered into a series of agreements with Philip Morris International Inc. (“PMI”), including an agreement that grants Altria an exclusive right to commercialize certain of PMI’s heated tobacco products in the United States, subject to the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA”) authorization. PMI submitted a pre-market tobacco product application and a modified risk tobacco product application for its electronically heated tobacco product, IQOS, with the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products in the first quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2016, respectively. Upon regulatory authorization by the FDA and subject to certain performance obligations, Altria’s subsidiaries will have an exclusive license to commercialize IQOS in the United States.
Distribution, Competition and Raw Materials: Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries sell their tobacco products principally to wholesalers (including distributors), large retail organizations, including chain stores, and the armed services.
The market for tobacco products is highly competitive, characterized by brand recognition and loyalty, with product quality, taste, price, product innovation, marketing, packaging and distribution constituting the significant methods of competition. Promotional activities include, in certain instances and where permitted by law, allowances, the distribution of incentive items, price promotions, product promotions, coupons and other discounts.
In June 2009, the President of the United States of America signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (“FSPTCA”), which provides the FDA with broad authority to regulate the design, manufacture, packaging, advertising, promotion, sale and distribution of tobacco products; the authority to require disclosures of related information; and the authority to enforce the FSPTCA and related regulations. The FSPTCA went into effect in 2009 for cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and smokeless tobacco products and in August 2016 for all other tobacco products, including cigars, e-vapor products, pipe tobacco and oral tobacco-derived nicotine products (“Other Tobacco Products”). The FSPTCA imposes restrictions on the advertising,


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promotion, sale and distribution of tobacco products, including at retail. PM USA, Middleton, Nat Sherman and USSTC are subject to quarterly user fees as a result of the FSPTCA. Their respective FDA user fee amounts are determined by an allocation formula administered by the FDA that is based on the respective market shares of manufacturers and importers of each kind of tobacco product. PM USA, Nat Sherman, USSTC and other U.S. tobacco manufacturers have agreed to other marketing restrictions in the United States as part of the settlements of state health care cost recovery actions.
In the United States, under a contract growing program, PM USA purchases the majority of its burley and flue-cured leaf tobaccos directly from tobacco growers. Under the terms of this program, PM USA agrees to purchase the amount of tobacco specified in the grower contracts. PM USA also purchases a portion of its tobacco requirements through leaf merchants.
Nat Sherman purchases its tobacco requirements through leaf merchants.
USSTC purchases dark fire-cured, dark air-cured and burley leaf tobaccos from domestic tobacco growers under a contract growing program as well as from leaf merchants.
Middleton purchases burley, dark air-cured and flue-cured leaf tobaccos through leaf merchants. Middleton does not have a contract growing program.
Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries believe there is an adequate supply of tobacco in the world markets to satisfy their current and anticipated production requirements. See Item 1A. Risk Factors of this Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Item 1A”) and Tobacco Space - Business Environment - Price, Availability and Quality of Tobacco, Other Raw Materials and Component Parts in Item 7 for a discussion of risks associated with tobacco supply.
Wine
Ste. Michelle is a producer and supplier of premium varietal and blended table wines and of sparkling wines. Ste. Michelle is a leading producer of Washington state wines, primarily Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest and 14 Hands, and owns wineries in or distributes wines from several other domestic and foreign wine regions. Ste. Michelle’s total 2018 wine shipment volume of approximately 8.2 million cases decreased 3.3% from 2017.
Ste. Michelle holds an 85% ownership interest in Michelle-Antinori, LLC, which owns Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley. Ste. Michelle also owns Conn Creek in Napa Valley, Patz & Hall in Sonoma and Erath in Oregon. In addition, Ste. Michelle imports and markets Antinori, Torres and Villa Maria Estate wines and Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte in the United States.
Distribution, Competition and Raw Materials: Key elements of Ste. Michelle’s strategy are expanded domestic distribution of its wines, especially in certain account categories such as restaurants, wholesale clubs, supermarkets, wine shops and mass merchandisers, and a focus on improving product mix to higher-priced, premium products.
Ste. Michelle’s business is subject to significant competition, including competition from many larger, well-established domestic and international companies, as well as from many smaller wine producers. Wine segment competition is primarily
 
based on quality, price, consumer and trade wine tastings, competitive wine judging, third-party acclaim and advertising. Substantially all of Ste. Michelle’s sales occur in the United States through state-licensed distributors. Ste. Michelle also sells to domestic consumers through retail and e-commerce channels and exports wines to international distributors.
Federal, state and local governmental agencies regulate the beverage alcohol industry through various means, including licensing requirements, pricing rules, labeling and advertising restrictions, and distribution and production policies. Further regulatory restrictions or additional excise or other taxes on the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages may have an adverse effect on Ste. Michelle’s wine business.
Ste. Michelle uses grapes harvested from its own vineyards or purchased from independent growers, as well as bulk wine purchased from other sources. Grape production can be adversely affected by weather and other forces that may limit production. At the present time, Ste. Michelle believes that there is a sufficient supply of grapes and bulk wine available in the market to satisfy its current and expected production requirements. See Item 1A for a discussion of risks associated with competition, unfavorable changes in grape supply and governmental regulations.
Financial Services Business
In 2003, PMCC ceased making new investments and began focusing exclusively on managing its portfolio of finance assets in order to maximize its operating results and cash flows from its existing lease portfolio activities and asset sales.
Other Matters
Customers: The largest customer of PM USA, USSTC, Middleton and Nat Sherman, McLane Company, Inc., accounted for approximately 27%, 26% and 25% of Altria’s consolidated net revenues for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively. In addition, Core-Mark Holding Company, Inc. accounted for approximately 14% of Altria’s consolidated net revenues for each of the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016. Substantially all of these net revenues were reported in the smokeable products and smokeless products segments.
Sales to two distributors accounted for approximately 64% of net revenues for the wine segment for the year ended December 31, 2018. Sales to three distributors accounted for approximately 67% and 69% of net revenues for the wine segment for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Employees: At December 31, 2018, Altria and its subsidiaries employed approximately 8,300 people. As a result of the cost reduction program announced in December 2018, there will be a reduction of approximately 900 employees, substantially all of which are expected to depart by February 28, 2019.
Executive Officers of Altria: The disclosure regarding executive officers is included in Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance - Executive Officers as of February 12, 2019 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Intellectual Property: Trademarks are of material importance to Altria and its operating companies, and are protected by registration or otherwise. In addition, as of


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December 31, 2018, the portfolio of approximately 950 United States patents owned by Altria’s businesses, as a whole, was material to Altria and its tobacco businesses. However, no one patent or group of related patents was material to Altria’s business or its tobacco businesses as of December 31, 2018. Altria’s businesses also have proprietary trade secrets, technology, know-how, processes and other intellectual property rights that are protected by appropriate confidentiality measures. Certain trade secrets are material to Altria and its tobacco and wine businesses.
Environmental Regulation: Altria and its subsidiaries (and former subsidiaries) are subject to various federal, state and local laws and regulations concerning the discharge of materials into the environment, or otherwise related to environmental protection, including, in the United States: The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (commonly known as “Superfund”), which can impose joint and several liability on each responsible party. Subsidiaries (and former subsidiaries) of Altria are involved in several matters subjecting them to potential costs of remediation and natural resource damages under Superfund or other laws and regulations. Altria’s subsidiaries expect to continue to make capital and other expenditures in connection with environmental laws and regulations. As discussed in Note 2. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 2”), Altria provides for expenses associated with environmental remediation obligations on an undiscounted basis when such amounts are probable and can be reasonably estimated. Such accruals are adjusted as new information develops or circumstances change. Other than those amounts, it is not possible to reasonably estimate the cost of any environmental remediation and compliance efforts that subsidiaries of Altria may undertake in the future. In the opinion of management, however, compliance with environmental laws and regulations, including the payment of any remediation costs or damages and the making of related expenditures, has not had, and is not expected to have, a material adverse effect on Altria’s consolidated results of operations, capital expenditures, financial position or cash flows.
Available Information
Altria is required to file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).
Altria makes available free of charge on or through its website (www.altria.com) its Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), as soon as reasonably practicable after Altria electronically files such material with, or furnishes it to, the SEC. Investors can access Altria’s filings with the SEC by visiting www.altria.com/secfilings.
The information on the respective websites of Altria and its subsidiaries is not, and shall not be deemed to be, a part of this report or incorporated into any other filings Altria makes with the SEC.
 
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
The following risk factors should be read carefully in connection with evaluating our business and the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Any of the following risks could materially adversely affect our business, our results of operations, our cash flows, our financial position and the actual outcome of matters as to which forward-looking statements are made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We (1) may from time to time make written or oral forward-looking statements, including earnings guidance and other statements contained in filings with the SEC, reports to security holders, press releases and investor webcasts. You can identify these forward-looking statements by use of words such as “strategy,” “expects,” “continues,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “will,” “estimates,” “forecasts,” “intends,” “projects,” “goals,” “objectives,” “guidance,” “targets” and other words of similar meaning. You can also identify them by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts.
We cannot guarantee that any forward-looking statement will be realized, although we believe we have been prudent in our plans, estimates and assumptions. Achievement of future results is subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions that may prove to be inaccurate. Should known or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying estimates or assumptions prove inaccurate, actual results could vary materially from those anticipated, estimated or projected. You should bear this in mind as you consider forward-looking statements and whether to invest in or remain invested in Altria’s securities. In connection with the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, we are identifying important factors that, individually or in the aggregate, could cause actual results and outcomes to differ materially from those contained in, or implied by, any forward-looking statements made by us; any such statement is qualified by reference to the following cautionary statements. We elaborate on these and other risks we face throughout this Annual Report on Form 10-K particularly in the “Business Environment” sections preceding our discussion of the operating results of our subsidiaries’ businesses below in Item 7. You should understand that it is not possible to predict or identify all risk factors. Consequently, you should not consider the following to be a complete discussion of all potential risks or uncertainties. We do not undertake to update any forward-looking statement that we may make from time to time except as required by applicable law.

Unfavorable litigation outcomes could materially adversely affect the consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria or the businesses of one or more of its subsidiaries.

Legal proceedings covering a wide range of matters are pending or threatened in various United States and foreign jurisdictions
_________________________________________________
(1) This section uses the terms “we,” “our” and “us” when it is not necessary to distinguish among Altria and its various operating subsidiaries or when any distinction is clear from the context.


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against Altria and its subsidiaries, including PM USA and UST and its subsidiaries, as well as their respective indemnitees. Various types of claims may be raised in these proceedings, including product liability, consumer protection, antitrust, tax, contraband-related claims, patent infringement, employment matters, claims for contribution and claims of competitors, shareholders and distributors.
Litigation is subject to uncertainty and it is possible that there could be adverse developments in pending or future cases. An unfavorable outcome or settlement of pending tobacco-related or other litigation could encourage the commencement of additional litigation. Damages claimed in some tobacco-related or other litigation are significant and, in certain cases, have ranged in the billions of dollars. The variability in pleadings in multiple jurisdictions, together with the actual experience of management in litigating claims, demonstrate that the monetary relief that may be specified in a lawsuit bears little relevance to the ultimate outcome.
In certain cases, plaintiffs claim that defendants’ liability is joint and several. In such cases, Altria or its subsidiaries may face the risk that one or more co-defendants decline or otherwise fail to participate in the bonding required for an appeal or to pay their proportionate or jury-allocated share of a judgment.  As a result, Altria or its subsidiaries under certain circumstances may have to pay more than their proportionate share of any bonding- or judgment-related amounts. Furthermore, in those cases where plaintiffs are successful, Altria or its subsidiaries may also be required to pay interest and attorneys’ fees.
Although PM USA has historically been able to obtain required bonds or relief from bonding requirements in order to prevent plaintiffs from seeking to collect judgments while adverse verdicts have been appealed, there remains a risk that such relief may not be obtainable in all cases. This risk has been substantially reduced given that 47 states and Puerto Rico now limit the dollar amount of bonds or require no bond at all. As discussed in Note 19. Contingencies to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 19”), tobacco litigation plaintiffs have challenged the constitutionality of Florida’s bond cap statute in several cases and plaintiffs may challenge state bond cap statutes in other jurisdictions as well. Such challenges may include the applicability of state bond caps in federal court. Although we cannot predict the outcome of such challenges, it is possible that the consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria, or the businesses of one or more of its subsidiaries, could be materially adversely affected in a particular fiscal quarter or fiscal year by an unfavorable outcome of one or more such challenges.
In certain litigation, Altria and its subsidiaries may face potentially significant non-monetary remedies, which may cause reputational harm. For example, in the lawsuit brought by the United States Department of Justice, discussed in detail in Note 19, the district court did not impose monetary penalties but ordered significant non-monetary remedies, including the issuance of “corrective statements.”
Altria and its subsidiaries have achieved substantial success in managing litigation. Nevertheless, litigation is subject to uncertainty, and significant challenges remain.
 
It is possible that the consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria, or the businesses of one or more of its subsidiaries, could be materially adversely affected in a particular fiscal quarter or fiscal year by an unfavorable outcome or settlement of certain pending litigation. Altria and each of its subsidiaries named as a defendant believe, and each has been so advised by counsel handling the respective cases, that it has valid defenses to the litigation pending against it, as well as valid bases for appeal of adverse verdicts. Each of the companies has defended, and will continue to defend, vigorously against litigation challenges. However, Altria and its subsidiaries may enter into settlement discussions in particular cases if they believe it is in the best interests of Altria to do so. See Item 3. Legal Proceedings of this Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Item 3”), Note 19 and Exhibits 99.1 and 99.2 to this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of pending tobacco-related litigation.

Significant federal, state and local governmental actions, including actions by the FDA, and various private sector actions may continue to have an adverse impact on us and our tobacco subsidiaries’ businesses and sales volumes.

As described in Tobacco Space - Business Environment in Item 7, our cigarette subsidiaries face significant governmental and private sector actions, including efforts aimed at reducing the incidence of tobacco use and efforts seeking to hold these subsidiaries responsible for the adverse health effects associated with both smoking and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. These actions, combined with the diminishing social acceptance of smoking, have resulted in reduced cigarette industry volume, and we expect that these factors will continue to reduce cigarette consumption levels.
More broadly, actions by the FDA and other federal, state or local governments or agencies, including those specific actions described in Tobacco Space - Business Environment in Item 7, may impact the adult tobacco consumer acceptability of or access to tobacco products (for example, through product standards that may be proposed by the FDA for nicotine and flavors), limit adult tobacco consumer choices, delay or prevent the launch of new or modified tobacco products or products with claims of reduced risk, require the recall or other removal of tobacco products from the marketplace (for example as a result of product contamination, rulemaking that bans menthol, a determination by the FDA that one or more tobacco products do not satisfy the statutory requirements for substantial equivalence, because the FDA requires that a currently-marketed tobacco product proceed through the pre-market review process or because the FDA otherwise determines that removal is necessary for the protection of public health), restrict communications to adult tobacco consumers, restrict the ability to differentiate tobacco products, create a competitive advantage or disadvantage for certain tobacco companies, impose additional manufacturing, labeling or packing requirements, interrupt manufacturing or otherwise significantly increase the cost of doing business, or restrict or prevent the use of specified tobacco products in certain locations or the sale of tobacco products by certain retail establishments. Any one or more of these actions may have a material adverse


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impact on the business, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries. See Tobacco Space - Business Environment in Item 7 for a more detailed discussion.

Tobacco products are subject to substantial taxation, which could have an adverse impact on sales of the tobacco products of Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries.

Tobacco products are subject to substantial excise taxes, and significant increases in tobacco product-related taxes or fees have been proposed or enacted and are likely to continue to be proposed or enacted within the United States at the federal, state and local levels. Tax increases are expected to continue to have an adverse impact on sales of the tobacco products of our tobacco subsidiaries through lower consumption levels and the potential shift in adult consumer purchases from the premium to the non-premium or discount segments or to other low-priced or low-taxed tobacco products or to counterfeit and contraband products. Such shifts may have an adverse impact on the reported share performance of tobacco products of Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries. For further discussion, see Tobacco Space - Business Environment - Excise Taxes in Item 7.

Our tobacco businesses face significant competition (including across categories) and their failure to compete effectively could have an adverse effect on the consolidated results of operations or cash flows of Altria, or the business of Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries.

Each of Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries operates in highly competitive tobacco categories. This competition also exists across categories as adult tobacco consumer preferences evolve. Significant methods of competition include product quality, taste, price, product innovation, marketing, packaging, distribution and promotional activities.  A highly competitive environment could negatively impact the profitability, market share and shipment volume of our tobacco subsidiaries, which could have an adverse effect on the consolidated results of operations or cash flows of Altria. See Tobacco Space - Business Environment - Summary in Item 7 for additional discussion concerning evolving adult tobacco consumer preferences, including e-vapor products. Growth of the e-vapor product category and other innovative tobacco products has further contributed to reductions in cigarette consumption levels and cigarette industry sales volume and has adversely affected the growth rates of other tobacco products. Continued growth in these categories could have a material adverse impact on the business, results of operations, cash flows or financial position of PM USA and USSTC.
PM USA also faces competition from lowest priced brands sold by certain United States and foreign manufacturers that have cost advantages because they are not parties to settlements of certain tobacco litigation in the United States. These settlements, among other factors, resulted in substantial cigarette price increases. These manufacturers may fail to comply with related state escrow legislation or may avoid escrow deposit obligations on the majority of their sales by concentrating on certain states
 
where escrow deposits are not required or are required on fewer than all such manufacturers’ cigarettes sold in such states. Additional competition has resulted from diversion into the United States market of cigarettes intended for sale outside the United States, the sale of counterfeit cigarettes by third parties, the sale of cigarettes by third parties over the Internet and by other means designed to avoid collection of applicable taxes, and imports of foreign lowest priced brands. USSTC faces significant competition in the smokeless tobacco category and has experienced consumer down-trading to lower-priced brands.

Altria and its subsidiaries may be unsuccessful in anticipating changes in adult consumer preferences, responding to changes in consumer purchase behavior or managing through difficult competitive and economic conditions, which could have an adverse effect on the consolidated results of operations and cash flows of Altria or the business of Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries.

Each of our tobacco and wine subsidiaries is subject to intense competition and changes in adult consumer preferences. To be successful, they must continue to:

promote brand equity successfully;
anticipate and respond to new and evolving adult consumer preferences;
develop, manufacture, market and distribute new and innovative products that appeal to adult consumers (including, where appropriate, through arrangements with, or investments in, third parties);
improve productivity; and
protect or enhance margins through cost savings and price increases.

See Tobacco Space - Business Environment - Summary in Item 7 and the immediately preceding risk factor for additional discussion concerning evolving adult tobacco consumer preferences, specifically the growth of e-vapor and other innovative tobacco products and the effects on our tobacco operating companies.
The willingness of adult consumers to purchase premium consumer product brands depends in part on economic conditions. In periods of economic uncertainty, adult consumers may purchase more discount brands and/or, in the case of tobacco products, consider lower-priced tobacco products, which could have a material adverse effect on the business, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and its subsidiaries. While our tobacco and wine subsidiaries work to broaden their brand portfolios to compete effectively with lower-priced products, the failure to do so could negatively impact our companies’ ability to compete in these circumstances.
Our financial services business (conducted through PMCC) holds investments in finance leases, principally in transportation (including aircraft), power generation, real estate and manufacturing equipment. Its lessees are subject to significant competition and uncertain economic conditions. If parties to PMCC’s leases fail to manage through difficult economic and


6


competitive conditions, PMCC may have to increase its allowance for losses, which would adversely affect our earnings.

Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries and investees may be unsuccessful in developing and commercializing adjacent products or processes, including innovative tobacco products that may reduce the health risks associated with current tobacco products and that appeal to adult tobacco consumers, which may have an adverse effect on their ability to grow new revenue streams and/or put them at a competitive disadvantage.

Altria and its subsidiaries have growth strategies involving moves and potential moves into adjacent products or processes, including innovative tobacco products. Some innovative tobacco products may reduce the health risks associated with current tobacco products, while continuing to offer adult tobacco consumers (within and outside the United States) products that meet their taste expectations and evolving preferences. Examples include tobacco-containing and nicotine-containing products that reduce or eliminate exposure to cigarette smoke and/or constituents identified by public health authorities as harmful, such as e-vapor products. These efforts include arrangements with, or investments in, third parties such as our minority investment in JUUL. This minority investment subjects us to non-competition obligations restricting us from investing or engaging in the e-vapor business other than through JUUL, subject to limited exceptions. Our tobacco subsidiaries and investees may not succeed in their efforts to introduce such new products, which would have an adverse effect on the ability to grow new revenue streams.
Further, we cannot predict whether regulators, including the FDA, will permit the marketing or sale of products with claims of reduced risk to adult consumers, the speed with which they may make such determinations or whether regulators will impose an unduly burdensome regulatory framework on such products. Nor can we predict whether adult tobacco consumers’ purchasing decisions would be affected by reduced risk claims if permitted. Adverse developments on any of these matters could negatively impact the commercial viability of such products.
If our tobacco subsidiaries or investees do not succeed in their efforts to develop and commercialize innovative tobacco products or to obtain regulatory approval for the marketing or sale of products with claims of reduced risk, but one or more of their competitors do succeed, our tobacco subsidiaries or investees may be at a competitive disadvantage, which could have an adverse effect on their financial performance.

Significant changes in price, availability or quality of tobacco, other raw materials or component parts could have an adverse effect on the profitability and business of Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries.

Any significant change in prices, quality or availability of tobacco, other raw materials or component parts could adversely affect our tobacco subsidiaries’ profitability and business. For further discussion, see Tobacco Space - Business Environment -
 
Price, Availability and Quality of Tobacco, Other Raw Materials and Component Parts in Item 7.

Because Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries rely on a few significant facilities and a small number of key suppliers, an extended disruption at a facility or in service by a supplier could have a material adverse effect on the business, the consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries.

Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries face risks inherent in reliance on a few significant facilities and a small number of key suppliers. A natural or man-made disaster or other disruption that affects the manufacturing operations of any of Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries or the operations of any key suppliers of any of Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries, including as a result of a key supplier’s unwillingness to supply goods or services to a tobacco company, could adversely impact the operations of the affected subsidiaries. An extended disruption in operations experienced by one or more of Altria’s subsidiaries or key suppliers could have a material adverse effect on the business, the consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries.

Altria’s subsidiaries could decide or be required to recall products, which could have a material adverse effect on the business, reputation, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and its subsidiaries.

In addition to a recall required by the FDA, as referenced above, our subsidiaries could decide, or other laws or regulations could require them, to recall products due to the failure to meet quality standards or specifications, suspected or confirmed and deliberate or unintentional product contamination, or other adulteration, product misbranding or product tampering. Product recalls could have a material adverse effect on the business, reputation, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and its subsidiaries.

The failure of Altria’s information systems or service providers’ information systems to function as intended, or cyber-attacks or security breaches, could have a material adverse effect on the business, reputation, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and its subsidiaries.

Altria and its subsidiaries rely extensively on information systems, many of which are managed by third-party service providers (such as cloud providers), to support a variety of business processes and activities, including: complying with regulatory, legal, financial reporting and tax requirements; engaging in marketing and e-commerce activities; managing and improving the effectiveness of our operations; manufacturing and distributing our products; collecting and storing sensitive data and confidential information; and communicating internally and externally with employees, investors, suppliers, trade customers, adult consumers and others. We continue to make investments in


7


administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect our information systems and data from cyber-threats, including human error and malicious acts. Our safeguards include employee training, testing and auditing protocols, backup systems and business continuity plans, maintenance of security policies and procedures, monitoring of networks and systems, and third-party risk management.
To date, interruptions of our information systems have been infrequent and have not had a material impact on our operations. However, because technology is increasingly complex and cyber-attacks are increasingly sophisticated and more frequent, there can be no assurance that such incidents will not have a material adverse effect on us in the future. Failure of our systems or service providers’ systems to function as intended, or cyber-attacks or security breaches, could result in loss of revenue, assets, personal data, intellectual property, trade secrets or other sensitive and confidential data, violation of applicable privacy and data security laws, damage to the reputation of our companies and their brands, operational disruptions, legal challenges and significant remediation and other costs to Altria and its subsidiaries.

Unfavorable outcomes of any governmental investigations could materially affect the businesses of Altria and its subsidiaries.

From time to time, Altria and its subsidiaries are subject to governmental investigations on a range of matters. We cannot predict whether new investigations may be commenced or the outcome of any such investigation, and it is possible that our business could be materially adversely affected by an unfavorable outcome of a future investigation.

A challenge to our tax positions could adversely affect our tax rate, earnings or cash flow.

Tax laws and regulations, such as the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Reform Act”), are complex and subject to varying interpretations. A successful challenge to one or more of Altria’s tax positions could give rise to additional liabilities, including interest and potential penalties, as well as adversely affect our tax rate, earnings or cash flows.

International business operations subject Altria and its subsidiaries to various United States and foreign laws and regulations, and violations of such laws or regulations could result in reputational harm, legal challenges and/or significant costs.

While Altria and its subsidiaries are primarily engaged in business activities in the United States, they do engage (directly or indirectly) in certain international business activities that are subject to various United States and foreign laws and regulations, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other laws prohibiting bribery and corruption.  Although we have a Code of Conduct and a compliance system designed to prevent and detect violations of applicable law, no system can provide assurance that
 
it will always protect against improper actions by employees, investees or third parties. Violations of these laws, or allegations of such violations, could result in reputational harm, legal challenges and/or significant costs.

Altria may be unable to attract and retain the best talent due to the impact of decreasing social acceptance of tobacco usage and tobacco control actions.

Our ability to implement our strategy of attracting and retaining the best talent may be impaired by the impact of decreasing social acceptance of tobacco usage and tobacco regulation and control actions. The tobacco industry competes for talent with the consumer products industry and other companies that enjoy greater societal acceptance.  As a result, we may be unable to attract and retain the best talent.

Acquisitions or other events may adversely affect Altria’s credit rating, and Altria may not achieve its anticipated strategic or financial objectives of a transaction.

From time to time, Altria considers acquisitions or investments and may engage in confidential negotiations that are not publicly announced unless and until those negotiations result in a definitive agreement. Although we seek to maintain or improve our credit ratings over time, it is possible that completing a given acquisition or investment or the occurrence of other events could negatively impact our credit ratings or the outlook for those ratings as occurred following our investment in JUUL (although we continue to maintain investment grade ratings). Any such change in ratings or outlook may negatively affect the amount of credit available to us and may also increase our costs and adversely affect our earnings or our dividend rate.
Furthermore, acquisition opportunities are limited, and acquisitions present risks of failing to achieve efficient and effective integration, strategic objectives and anticipated revenue improvements and cost savings. There can be no assurance that we will be able to acquire attractive businesses on favorable terms or that we will realize any of the anticipated benefits from an acquisition or an investment.

Disruption and uncertainty in the credit and capital markets could adversely affect Altria’s access to these markets, earnings and dividend rate.

Access to the credit and capital markets is important for us to satisfy our liquidity and financing needs. Disruption and uncertainty in these markets and any resulting adverse impact on credit availability, pricing, credit terms or credit rating may negatively affect the amount of credit available to us and may also increase our costs and adversely affect our earnings or our dividend rate.

Altria may be required to write down intangible assets, including goodwill, due to impairment, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial position.


8



We periodically calculate the fair value of our reporting units and intangible assets to test for impairment. This calculation may be affected by several factors, including general economic conditions, regulatory developments, changes in category growth rates as a result of changing adult consumer preferences, success of planned new product introductions, competitive activity and tobacco-related taxes. Certain events can also trigger an immediate review of intangible assets. If an impairment is determined to exist in either situation, we will incur impairment losses, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial position. In the fourth quarter of 2018, Altria incurred $209 million in goodwill and other intangible asset impairment charges related to Altria’s decision to refocus its innovative product efforts and the impairment of the Columbia Crest trademark (See Note 4. Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets, net to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 for a more detailed discussion).

Competition, unfavorable changes in grape supply and new governmental regulations or revisions to existing governmental regulations could adversely affect Ste. Michelle’s wine business.

Ste. Michelle’s business is subject to significant competition, including from many large, well-established domestic and international companies.  The adequacy of Ste. Michelle’s grape supply is influenced by consumer demand for wine in relation to industry-wide production levels as well as by weather and crop conditions, particularly in eastern Washington. Supply shortages related to any one or more of these factors could increase production costs and wine prices, which ultimately may have a negative impact on Ste. Michelle’s sales. In addition, federal, state and local governmental agencies regulate the alcohol beverage industry through various means, including licensing requirements, pricing, labeling and advertising restrictions, and distribution and production policies. New regulations or revisions to existing regulations, resulting in further restrictions or taxes on the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages may have an adverse effect on Ste. Michelle’s wine business. For further discussion, see Wine Segment - Business Environment in Item 7.

Altria’s reported earnings from and carrying value of its equity investment in AB InBev and the dividends paid by AB InBev on shares owned by Altria may be adversely affected by various factors, including foreign currency exchange rates and AB InBev’s business results and stock price.

For purposes of financial reporting, the earnings from and carrying value of our equity investment in AB InBev are translated into U.S. dollars from various local currencies. In addition, AB InBev pays dividends in euros, which we convert into U.S. dollars. During times of a strengthening U.S. dollar against these currencies, our reported earnings from and carrying value of our equity investment in AB InBev will be reduced because these currencies will translate into fewer U.S. dollars and
 
the dividends that we receive from AB InBev will convert into fewer U.S. dollars.
Dividends and earnings from and carrying value of our equity investment in AB InBev are also subject to the risks encountered by AB InBev in its business. For example, in October 2018, AB InBev announced a 50% rebase in the dividends it pays to its shareholders, which will result in a reduction of cash dividends Altria receives from AB InBev. As discussed in the Discussion and Analysis - Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates in Item 7, if the carrying value of our investment in AB InBev exceeds its fair value and the loss in value is other than temporary, the investment is considered impaired, which would result in impairment losses and could have a material adverse effect on Altria’s consolidated financial position or earnings. We cannot provide any assurance that AB InBev will successfully execute its business plans and strategies. Earnings from and carrying value of our equity investment in AB InBev are also subject to fluctuations in AB InBev’s stock price, for example through mark-to-market losses on AB InBev’s derivative financial instruments used to hedge certain share commitments.

We received a substantial portion of our consideration from the AB InBev Transaction in the form of restricted shares subject to a five-year lock-up. Furthermore, if our percentage ownership in AB InBev were to decrease below certain levels, we may be subject to additional tax liabilities, suffer a reduction in the number of directors that we can have appointed to the AB InBev Board of Directors and be unable to account for our investment under the equity method of accounting.

Upon completion of the AB InBev Transaction, we received a substantial portion of our consideration in the form of restricted shares that cannot be sold or transferred for a period of five years following the AB InBev Transaction, subject to limited exceptions. These transfer restrictions will require us to bear the risks associated with our investment in AB InBev for a five-year period that expires on October 10, 2021. Further, in the event that our ownership percentage in AB InBev were to decrease below certain levels, we may be subject to additional tax liabilities, the number of directors that we have the right to have appointed to the AB InBev Board of Directors could be reduced from two to one or zero and our use of the equity method of accounting for our investment in AB InBev could be challenged.

The tax treatment of the consideration Altria received in the AB InBev Transaction may be challenged and the tax treatment of the AB InBev investment may not be as favorable as Altria anticipates.

While we expect the equity consideration that we received from the AB InBev Transaction to qualify for tax-deferred treatment, we cannot provide any assurance that federal and state tax authorities will not challenge the expected tax treatment and, if they do, what the outcome of any such challenge will be. In addition, there is a risk that the tax treatment of our investment in AB InBev may not be as favorable as we anticipate.


9



Antitrust clearance required for the conversion of our non-voting JUUL shares into voting shares may not be obtained in a timely manner or at all, and the expected benefits of the JUUL transaction may not materialize in the expected manner or timeframe or at all.
Antitrust clearance required for the conversion of the non-voting JUUL shares held by us into voting shares may not be obtained in a timely manner or at all, and such clearance may be subject to unanticipated conditions. Unless and until such antitrust clearance is obtained, including expiration or termination of any applicable waiting period (or extension thereof) under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, and any rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, our JUUL shares will not have voting rights and we will not be entitled to certain other rights, including the right to appoint any directors to the JUUL Board of Directors. Accordingly, failure to obtain antitrust clearance would adversely affect us, including because it would substantially limit our rights with respect to our investment in JUUL and would prevent us from accounting for our investment in JUUL using the equity method.
In addition, regardless of whether antitrust clearance is obtained, the expected benefits of the JUUL transaction, such as any equity earnings and receipt of cash dividends, may not materialize in the expected manner or timeframe or at all, including due to the risks encountered by JUUL in its business, such as operational risks and regulatory risks at the international, federal and state levels, including actions by the FDA; unanticipated impacts on JUUL’s relationships with employees, customers, suppliers and other third parties; potential disruptions to JUUL’s management or current or future plans and operations due to the JUUL transaction; or domestic or international litigation developments, investigations, or otherwise. See Item 7. Tobacco Space - Business Environment for a discussion of certain FDA-related regulatory risks applicable to the e-vapor category. Failure to realize the expected benefits of our JUUL investment could adversely affect the value of the investment. As discussed in the Discussion and Analysis - Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates in Item 7, if a qualitative assessment of impairment of our JUUL investment were to indicate that its fair value is less than its carrying value, the investment would be written down to its fair value, which could have a material adverse effect on Altria’s consolidated financial position or earnings.
Our investment in JUUL includes non-competition, standstill and transfer restrictions that prevent us from gaining control of JUUL. Furthermore, if our percentage ownership in JUUL were to decrease below certain levels, we would lose certain of our governance, consent, preemptive and other rights with respect to our investment in JUUL and may be unable to account for the investment under the equity method.
The shares of JUUL we hold generally cannot be sold or otherwise transferred for a six-year period that expires on December 20, 2024, subject to limited exceptions. We have also generally agreed not to compete with JUUL in the e-vapor space
 
for at least six years, which may be extended at our election. In addition, following receipt of antitrust clearance, our designees will comprise no more than one third of the members of the JUUL Board of Directors. As a result, JUUL’s strategy and its material decisions are not controlled by us, and the terms of our agreements with JUUL mean that we are required to bear the risks associated with our investment in JUUL for at least a six-year period. Further, in the event that our ownership percentage in JUUL were to decrease below certain levels due to transfers by us or otherwise, or if we elect not to extend our non-competition obligations beyond six years, we would lose some or all of our board designation rights, preemptive rights, consent rights and other rights with respect to our investment in JUUL. Loss of these rights could adversely affect us by impairing our ability to influence JUUL and may prevent us from accounting for our investment under the equity method.
Our proposed investment in Cronos may not be completed within the anticipated timeframe or at all, and the expected benefits of the Cronos transaction may not materialize in the expected manner or timeframe or at all.
On December 7, 2018, we agreed to acquire common shares representing a 45% equity interest in Cronos and a warrant to acquire common shares representing an additional 10% equity interest in Cronos. The proposed transaction is subject to a number of closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approval, which may take longer than expected. We cannot provide any assurance that the proposed transaction will be completed or that there will not be a delay in the completion of the proposed transaction. There can also be no assurance that, if we complete the Cronos transaction, we will be able to realize its expected benefits, including due to the risks encountered by Cronos in its business, such as operational risks and legal and regulatory risks at the international, federal and state levels; unanticipated impacts on Cronos’s relationships with third parties, its management, or its current or future plans and operations due to the Cronos transaction; or domestic or international litigation developments, investigations, or otherwise.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.
None.
Item 2. Properties.
At December 31, 2018, ALCS owned property in Richmond, Virginia that serves as the headquarters facility for Altria, PM USA, USSTC, Middleton, and certain other subsidiaries.
At December 31, 2018, PM USA owned and operated a manufacturing site located in Richmond, Virginia (“Richmond Manufacturing Center”) that PM USA uses in the manufacturing of cigarettes. PM USA leases portions of this facility to Middleton and USSTC for use in the manufacturing of cigars and smokeless tobacco products, respectively.
At December 31, 2018, the smokeable products segment used four manufacturing and processing facilities, including the


10


Richmond Manufacturing Center. In addition to the Richmond Manufacturing Center, PM USA owns and operates a cigarette tobacco processing facility located in the Richmond, Virginia area. Nat Sherman owns and operates a cigarette manufacturing facility in Greensboro, North Carolina. Middleton, in addition to leasing space at the Richmond Manufacturing Center, owns and operates a manufacturing and processing facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania that is used in the manufacturing and processing of cigars and pipe tobacco. In addition, PM USA owns a research and technology center in Richmond, Virginia that is leased to ALCS.
At December 31, 2018, in addition to the Richmond Manufacturing Center, the smokeless products segment used four smokeless tobacco manufacturing and processing facilities, one located in Clarksville, Tennessee; one in Nashville, Tennessee; and two facilities in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, all of which are owned and operated by USSTC.
At December 31, 2018, the wine segment used 12 wine-making facilities - seven in Washington, four in California and one in Oregon. All of these facilities are owned and operated by Ste. Michelle, with the exception of a facility that is leased by Ste. Michelle in Washington. In addition, in order to support the production of its wines, the wine segment used vineyards in Washington, California and Oregon that are leased or owned by Ste. Michelle.
The plants and properties owned or leased and operated by Altria and its subsidiaries are maintained in good condition and are believed to be suitable and adequate for present needs.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings.
The information required by this Item is included in Note 19 and Exhibits 99.1 and 99.2 to this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Altria’s consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes for the year ended December 31, 2018 were filed on Form 8-K on January 31, 2019 (such consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes are also included in Item 8). The following summarizes certain developments in Altria’s litigation since the filing of the Form 8-K.
Recent Developments
Engle Progeny Trial Results:
In Chadwell, in February 2019, PM USA and plaintiff appealed to the Florida Third District Court of Appeal.
In L. Martin, in February 2019, the Florida Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment in favor of plaintiff.
In Berger, in February 2019, PM USA filed motions challenging the punitive damages award.
In Holliman, in February 2019, a Miami-Dade county jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff and against PM USA awarding approximately $3 million in compensatory damages and no punitive damages.
In February 2019, the United States Supreme Court denied PM USA’s petition for review in the McKeever, Pardue, Jordan, M. Brown, Boatright and Searcy cases.

 
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.
Not applicable.


11


Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
Performance Graph
The graph below compares the cumulative total shareholder return of Altria’s common stock for the last five years with the cumulative total return for the same period of the S&P 500 Index and the Altria Peer Group (1). The graph assumes the investment of $100 in common stock and each of the indices as of the market close on December 31, 2013 and the reinvestment of all dividends on a quarterly basis.
chart-f72858113a9357818cc.jpg
Date
 
Altria
 
Altria Peer Group
 
S&P 500
December 2013
 
$
100.00

 
$
100.00

 
$
100.00

December 2014
 
$
134.51

 
$
112.06

 
$
113.68

December 2015
 
$
165.58

 
$
128.34

 
$
115.24

December 2016
 
$
199.46

 
$
136.93

 
$
129.02

December 2017
 
$
218.30

 
$
147.96

 
$
157.17

December 2018
 
$
159.17

 
$
141.06

 
$
150.27

Source: Bloomberg - “Total Return Analysis” calculated on a daily basis and assumes reinvestment of dividends as of the ex-dividend date.
(1)In 2018, the Altria Peer Group consisted of U.S.-headquartered consumer product companies that are competitors to Altria’s operating companies subsidiaries or that have been selected on the basis of revenue or market capitalization: Campbell Soup Company, The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Conagra Brands, Inc., General Mills, Inc., The Hershey Company, Kellogg Company, Keurig Dr Pepper Inc., Kimberly-Clark Corporation, The Kraft Heinz Company, Molson Coors Brewing Company, Mondelēz International, Inc. and PepsiCo, Inc.
Note - On July 2, 2015, Kraft Foods Group, Inc. merged with and into a wholly owned subsidiary of H.J. Heinz Holding Corporation, which was renamed The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC). On June 12, 2015, Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) acquired Lorillard, Inc. (LO). On November 9, 2016, ConAgra Foods, Inc. (CAG) spun off Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. (LW) to its shareholders and then changed its name from ConAgra Foods, Inc. to Conagra Brands, Inc. (CAG). On July 24, 2017, British American Tobacco p.l.c. (BTI) acquired RAI. For 2018, Altria removed BTI from the Altria Peer Group as BTI no longer meets the pre-defined Altria Peer Group criteria as a U.S.-headquartered company. In addition, Altria has added U.S.-headquartered consumer product companies Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. and Molson Coors Brewing Company to the Altria Peer Group.



12


Market and Dividend Information
The principal stock exchange on which Altria’s common stock (par value $0.33 1/3 per share) is listed is the New York Stock Exchange under the trading symbol “MO”. At February 12, 2019, there were approximately 61,000 holders of record of Altria’s common stock.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities During the Quarter Ended December 31, 2018
In January 2018, Altria’s Board of Directors (the “Board of Directors”) authorized a $1.0 billion share repurchase program that it expanded to $2.0 billion in May 2018 (as expanded, the “January 2018 share repurchase program”), which Altria expects to complete by the end of the second quarter of 2019. The timing of share repurchases under this program depends upon marketplace conditions and other factors, and the program remains subject to the discretion of the Board of Directors.
Altria’s share repurchase activity for each of the three months in the period ended December 31, 2018, was as follows:
Period
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased (1)
 
Average Price Paid Per Share
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
 
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs
October 1- October 31, 2018
 
2,136,142

 
$
61.78

 
2,136,091

 
$
569,444,104

November 1- November 30, 2018
 
2,000,726

 
$
59.80

 
1,909,568

 
$
454,690,573

December 1- December 31, 2018
 
2,075,772

 
$
52.52

 
2,075,590

 
$
345,671,297

For the Quarter Ended December 31, 2018
 
6,212,640

 
$
58.05

 
6,121,249

 

(1) 
The total number of shares purchased includes (a) shares purchased under the January 2018 share repurchase program (which totaled 2,136,091 shares in October, 1,909,568 shares in November and 2,075,590 shares in December) and (b) shares withheld by Altria in an amount equal to the statutory withholding taxes for holders who vested in stock-based awards (which totaled 51 shares in October, 91,158 shares in November and 182 shares in December).

Item 6. Selected Financial Data.
(in millions of dollars, except per share data)
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Net revenues
$
25,364

 
$
25,576

 
$
25,744

 
$
25,434

 
$
24,522

Net earnings (1)(2)
6,967

 
10,227

 
14,244

 
5,243

 
5,070

Net earnings attributable to Altria (1)(2)
6,963

 
10,222

 
14,239

 
5,241

 
5,070

Basic EPS — net earnings attributable to Altria (1)(2)
3.69

 
5.31

 
7.28

 
2.67

 
2.56

Diluted EPS— net earnings attributable to Altria (1)(2)
3.68

 
5.31

 
7.28

 
2.67

 
2.56

Dividends declared per share
3.00

 
2.54

 
2.35

 
2.17

 
2.00

Total assets (2)(3)
55,638

 
43,202

 
45,932

 
31,459

 
33,440

Long-term debt 
11,898

 
13,030

 
13,881

 
12,843

 
13,610

Total debt (3)
25,746

 
13,894

 
13,881

 
12,847

 
14,610

(1) Certain 2018 and 2017 amounts include the impact of the enactment of the Tax Reform Act. For further discussion, see Note 15. Income Taxes to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 15”).
(2) Certain 2016 amounts include the impact of the gain on the AB InBev/SABMiller business combination. For further information, see Note 7.
(3) Certain 2018 amounts include the impact of the investment in JUUL. For further discussion, see Note 8 and Note 9. Short-Term Borrowings and Borrowing Arrangements to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 9”).

The Selected Financial Data should be read in conjunction with Item 7 and Item 8.



Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the other sections of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the consolidated financial statements and related notes contained in Item 8, and the discussion of cautionary factors that may affect future results in Item 1A.
 
Description of the Company
For a description of Altria, see Item 1. Business, and Background in Note 1. Background and Basis of Presentation to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 1”).
Altria’s reportable segments are smokeable products, smokeless products and wine. The financial services and the


13


innovative tobacco products businesses are included in an all other category due to the continued reduction of the lease portfolio of PMCC and the relative financial contribution of Altria’s innovative tobacco products businesses to Altria’s consolidated results.
As discussed in Note 1, on January 1, 2018, Altria adopted several accounting standard updates (“ASU”). In connection with the adoption of two of these ASUs (ASU No. 2016-18, Statement of Cash Flows (Topic 230): Restricted Cash and ASU No. 2017-07, Compensation-Retirement Benefits (Topic 715): Improving the Presentation of Net Periodic Pension Cost and Net Periodic Postretirement Benefit Cost), Altria restated certain prior year amounts.

Executive Summary
Consolidated Results of Operations
The changes in Altria’s net earnings and diluted earnings per share (“EPS”) attributable to Altria for the year ended December 31, 2018, from the year ended December 31, 2017, were due primarily to the following:
(in millions, except per share data)
Net
Earnings

 
Diluted
EPS

For the year ended December 31, 2017
$
10,222

 
$
5.31

2017 NPM Adjustment Items
2

 

2017 Asset impairment, exit, implementation and acquisition-related costs
55

 
0.03

2017 Tobacco and health litigation items
50

 
0.03

2017 AB InBev special items
105

 
0.05

2017 Gain on AB InBev/SABMiller business combination
(289
)
 
(0.15
)
2017 Settlement charge for lump sum pension payments
49

 
0.03

2017 Tax items
(3,674
)
 
(1.91
)
Subtotal 2017 special items
(3,702
)
 
(1.92
)
2018 NPM Adjustment Items
109

 
0.06

2018 Asset impairment, exit, implementation and acquisition-related costs
(432
)
 
(0.23
)
2018 Tobacco and health litigation items
(98
)
 
(0.05
)
2018 AB InBev special items
68

 
0.03

2018 Loss on AB InBev/SABMiller business combination
(26
)
 
(0.01
)
2018 Tax items
(197
)
 
(0.11
)
Subtotal 2018 special items
(576
)
 
(0.31
)
Fewer shares outstanding

 
0.07

Change in tax rate
1,007

 
0.53

Operations
12

 

For the year ended December 31, 2018
$
6,963

 
$
3.68

See the discussion of events affecting the comparability of statement of earnings amounts in the Consolidated Operating Results section of the following Discussion and Analysis.
Fewer Shares Outstanding: Fewer shares outstanding during 2018 compared with 2017 were due primarily to shares repurchased by Altria under its share repurchase programs.
 
Change in Tax Rate: The change in tax rate was driven primarily by the Tax Reform Act, which reduced the U.S. federal statutory corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% effective January 1, 2018. For further discussion, see Note 15.
Operations: The increase of $12 million in operations shown in the table above was due primarily to the following:
higher earnings from Altria’s equity investment in AB InBev; and
higher income from the smokeless products segment;

partially offset by:
lower income from the smokeable products and wine segments; and
higher investment spending in the innovative tobacco products businesses.
For further details, see the Consolidated Operating Results and Operating Results by Business Segment sections of the following Discussion and Analysis.
2019 Forecasted Results
In January 2019, Altria forecasted that its 2019 full-year adjusted diluted EPS growth rate is expected to be in the range of 4% to 7% over its 2018 full-year adjusted diluted EPS base of $3.99. This forecasted growth rate excludes the 2019 forecasted expense items in the second table below. Altria’s 2019 guidance reflects its expectation for a higher full-year adjusted effective tax rate, primarily resulting from lower dividends from AB InBev; increased interest expense from the debt incurred from the Cronos and JUUL transactions; savings from the cost reduction program announced in December 2018, which Altria expects to build over the course of the year to an annualized level of approximately $575 million; and increased investments related to PM USA’s lead market plans for launching IQOS, once authorized by the FDA. The guidance assumes little-to-no earnings or cash contributions from the Cronos and JUUL investments. Altria expects the adjusted diluted EPS growth to come in the last three quarters of 2019, with a mid-single digit decline in the first quarter. In the first quarter of 2019, Altria will have the increased interest expense without the full benefits of the cost reduction program and one fewer shipping day in the smokeable products segment. Altria expects its 2019 full-year adjusted effective tax rate will be in a range of approximately 23.5% to 24.5%.


14


Reconciliation of 2018 Reported Diluted EPS to 2018 Adjusted Diluted EPS
 
2018
2018 Reported diluted EPS
$
3.68

NPM Adjustment Items
(0.06
)
Asset impairment, exit, implementation and acquisition-related costs
0.23

Tobacco and health litigation items
0.05

AB InBev special items
(0.03
)
Loss on AB InBev/SABMiller
business combination
0.01

Tax items
0.11

2018 Adjusted diluted EPS
$
3.99

Altria’s full-year adjusted diluted EPS guidance and full-year forecast for its adjusted effective tax rate exclude the impact of certain income and expense items that management believes are not part of underlying operations. These items may include, for example, loss on early extinguishment of debt, restructuring charges, asset impairment charges, loss/gain on AB InBev/SABMiller business combination, AB InBev special items, certain tax items, charges associated with tobacco and health litigation items, and resolutions of certain non-participating manufacturer (“NPM”) adjustment disputes under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (such dispute resolutions are referred to as “NPM Adjustment Items” and are more fully described in Health Care Cost Recovery Litigation - NPM Adjustment Disputes in Note 19).
Altria’s management cannot estimate on a forward-looking basis the impact of certain income and expense items, including those items noted in the preceding paragraph, on Altria’s reported diluted EPS and reported effective tax rate because these items, which could be significant, may be infrequent, are difficult to predict and may be highly variable. As a result, Altria does not provide a corresponding United States generally accepted accounting principles (“U.S. GAAP”) measure for, or reconciliation to, its adjusted diluted EPS guidance or its adjusted effective tax rate forecast.
The factors described in Item 1A represent continuing risks to this forecast.
Expense Excluded from 2019 Forecasted Adjusted
Diluted EPS
 
2019
Asset impairment, exit, implementation and acquisition-related costs (1)
$
0.08

Tax items (2)
0.04

 
$
0.12

(1) Represents $0.04 for acquisition-related costs associated with the Cronos and JUUL transactions and $0.04 for the cost reduction program announced in December 2018.
(2) Represents a partial reversal of the tax basis benefit recorded in 2017 attributable to the deemed repatriation tax related to Altria’s investment in AB InBev. For further discussion, see Note 15.

Altria reports its financial results in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Altria’s management reviews certain financial results, including diluted EPS, on an adjusted basis, which excludes
 
certain income and expense items, including those items noted above. Altria’s management does not view any of these special items to be part of Altria’s underlying results as they may be highly variable, may be infrequent, are difficult to predict and can distort underlying business trends and results. Altria’s management also reviews income tax rates on an adjusted basis. Altria’s adjusted effective tax rate may exclude certain tax items from its reported effective tax rate. Altria’s management believes that adjusted financial measures provide useful additional insight into underlying business trends and results and provide a more meaningful comparison of year-over-year results. Adjusted financial measures are used by management and regularly provided to Altria’s chief operating decision maker (the “CODM”) for planning, forecasting and evaluating business and financial performance, including allocating resources and evaluating results relative to employee compensation targets. These adjusted financial measures are not consistent with U.S. GAAP and may not be calculated the same as similarly titled measures used by other companies. These adjusted financial measures should thus be considered as supplemental in nature and not considered in isolation or as a substitute for the related financial information prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
Discussion and Analysis
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Note 2 includes a summary of the significant accounting policies and methods used in the preparation of Altria’s consolidated financial statements. In most instances, Altria must use an accounting policy or method because it is the only policy or method permitted under U.S. GAAP.
The preparation of financial statements includes the use of estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent liabilities at the dates of the financial statements and the reported amounts of net revenues and expenses during the reporting periods. If actual amounts are ultimately different from previous estimates, the revisions are included in Altria’s consolidated results of operations for the period in which the actual amounts become known. Historically, the aggregate differences, if any, between Altria’s estimates and actual amounts in any year have not had a significant impact on its consolidated financial statements.
The following is a review of the more significant assumptions and estimates, as well as the accounting policies and methods, used in the preparation of Altria’s consolidated financial statements:
Consolidation: The consolidated financial statements include Altria, as well as its wholly-owned and majority-owned subsidiaries. Investments in which Altria has the ability to exercise significant influence over the operating and financial policies of the investee are accounted for under the equity method of accounting. Equity investments in which Altria does not have the ability to exercise significant influence over the operating and financial policies of the investee are accounted for as an investment in an equity security. All intercompany transactions and balances have been eliminated.


15


Revenue Recognition: On January 1, 2018, Altria adopted ASU No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) and all related ASU amendments.
Altria’s businesses generate substantially all of their revenue from sales contracts with customers. While Altria’s businesses enter into separate sales contracts with each customer for each product type, all sales contracts are similarly structured. These contracts create an obligation to transfer product to the customer. All performance obligations are satisfied within one year; therefore, costs to obtain contracts are expensed as incurred and unsatisfied performance obligations are not disclosed. There is no financing component because Altria expects, at contract inception, that the period between when Altria transfers product to the customer and when the customer pays for that product will be one year or less.
Altria’s businesses define net revenues as revenues, which include excise taxes and shipping and handling charges billed to customers, net of cash discounts for prompt payment, sales returns (also referred to as returned goods) and sales incentives. Altria’s businesses exclude from the transaction price sales taxes and value-added taxes imposed at the time of sale (which do not include excise taxes on cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco or wine billed to customers).
Altria’s businesses recognize revenues from sales contracts with customers upon shipment of goods when control of such products is obtained by the customer. Altria’s businesses determine that a customer obtains control of the product upon shipment when title of such product and risk of loss transfers to the customer. Altria’s businesses account for shipping and handling costs as fulfillment costs and such amounts are classified as part of cost of sales in Altria’s consolidated statements of earnings. Altria’s businesses record an allowance for returned goods, based principally on historical volume and return rates, which is included in other accrued liabilities on Altria’s consolidated balance sheets. Altria’s businesses record sales incentives, which consist of consumer incentives and trade promotion activities, as a reduction to revenues (a portion of which is based on amounts estimated as being due to wholesalers, retailers and consumers at the end of a period) based principally on historical volume, utilization and redemption rates. Expected payments for sales incentives are included in accrued marketing liabilities on Altria’s consolidated balance sheets.
Payment terms vary depending on product type. Altria’s businesses consider payments received in advance of product shipment as deferred revenue, which is included in other accrued liabilities on Altria’s consolidated balance sheets until revenue is recognized. PM USA receives payment in advance of a customer obtaining control of the product. USSTC receives substantially all payments within one business day of the customer obtaining control of the product. Ste. Michelle receives substantially all payments from customers within 45 days of the customer obtaining control of the product. Amounts due from customers are included in receivables on Altria’s consolidated balance sheets.
For further discussion, see Note 3. Revenues from Contracts with Customers to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8.
 
Depreciation, Amortization, Impairment Testing and Asset Valuation: Altria depreciates property, plant and equipment and amortizes its definite-lived intangible assets using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets. Machinery and equipment are depreciated over periods up to 25 years, and buildings and building improvements over periods up to 50 years. Definite-lived intangible assets are amortized over their estimated useful lives up to 25 years.
Altria reviews long-lived assets, including definite-lived intangible assets, for impairment whenever events or changes in business circumstances indicate that the carrying value of the assets may not be fully recoverable. Altria performs undiscounted operating cash flow analyses to determine if an impairment exists. These analyses are affected by general economic conditions and projected growth rates. For purposes of recognition and measurement of an impairment for assets held for use, Altria groups assets and liabilities at the lowest level for which cash flows are separately identifiable. If Altria determines that an impairment exists, any related impairment loss is calculated based on fair value. Impairment losses on assets to be disposed of, if any, are based on the estimated proceeds to be received, less costs of disposal. Altria also reviews the estimated remaining useful lives of long-lived assets whenever events or changes in business circumstances indicate the lives may have changed.
Substantially all of the goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets recorded by Altria at December 31, 2018 relate to the 2017 acquisition of Nat Sherman, the 2009 acquisition of UST and the 2007 acquisition of Middleton. Altria conducts a required annual review of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets for potential impairment, and more frequently if an event occurs or circumstances change that would require Altria to perform an interim review. If the carrying value of goodwill exceeds its fair value, goodwill is considered impaired. The amount of impairment loss is measured as the difference between the carrying value and the implied fair value. If the carrying value of an indefinite-lived intangible asset exceeds its fair value, the intangible asset is considered impaired and is reduced to fair value. For goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets, the fair values are determined using discounted cash flows.
Goodwill by reporting unit and indefinite-lived intangible assets at December 31, 2018 were as follows:
(in millions)
Goodwill

 
Indefinite-Lived
Intangible Assets

Cigarettes
$
22

 
$
172

Smokeless products
5,023

 
8,801

Cigars
77

 
2,640

Wine
74

 
233

Total
$
5,196

 
$
11,846

During 2018, Altria recorded goodwill and other intangible asset impairment charges of $111 million and $44 million, respectively, related to Altria’s decision in the fourth quarter of 2018 to refocus its innovative product efforts, which includes Nu Mark’s discontinuation of production and distribution of all e-vapor products.
In addition, during 2018, Altria completed its quantitative annual impairment test of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible


16


assets. Upon completion of this testing, Altria concluded, in the wine segment, that the Columbia Crest trademark of $54 million was fully impaired as Columbia Crest has been negatively impacted by an accelerated decline in the $7 to $10 premium wine segment, increased competition and reduction in trade support. The results of the 2018 quantitative annual impairment test of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets for the other reporting units and trademarks are indicated below.
At December 31, 2018, the estimated fair values of the cigarettes and cigars reporting units and the indefinite-lived intangible assets within those reporting units substantially exceeded their carrying values.
At December 31, 2018, the estimated fair values of the smokeless products reporting unit and the indefinite-lived intangible assets within the reporting unit substantially exceeded its carrying values, with the exception of the Skoal trademark. At December 31, 2018, the estimated fair value of the Skoal trademark exceeded its carrying value of $3.9 billion by approximately 20%. Skoal continues to be impacted by slowing category volumes and increased competitive activities due to higher pricing and adult tobacco consumer movement among tobacco products.
At December 31, 2018, the estimated fair value of the wine reporting unit did not substantially exceed its carrying value. The estimated fair values of the indefinite-lived intangible assets within the wine reporting unit, with the exception of Columbia Crest (discussed above), substantially exceeded their carrying values. At December 31, 2018, the wine reporting unit exceeded its carrying value of $1.5 billion by approximately 14%. The wine reporting unit continues to be impacted by the slowing growth rate in the premium wine category and higher trade inventories.
During 2017 and 2016, Altria’s quantitative annual impairment test of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets resulted in no impairment charges.
In 2018, Altria used an income approach to estimate the fair values of all of its reporting units and indefinite-lived intangible assets. The income approach reflects the discounting of expected future cash flows to their present value at a rate of return that incorporates the risk-free rate for the use of those funds, the expected rate of inflation and the risks associated with realizing expected future cash flows. The weighted-average discount rate used in performing the valuations was approximately 10%.
In performing the 2018 discounted cash flow analysis, Altria made various judgments, estimates and assumptions, the most significant of which were volume, income, growth rates and discount rates. The analysis incorporated assumptions used in Altria’s long-term financial forecast, which is used by Altria’s management to evaluate business and financial performance, including allocating resources and evaluating results relative to setting employee compensation targets. The assumptions incorporated the highest and best use of Altria’s indefinite-lived intangible assets and also included perpetual growth rates for periods beyond the long-term financial forecast. The perpetual growth rate used in performing all of the valuations was 2%. Fair value calculations are sensitive to changes in these estimates and
 
assumptions, some of which relate to broader macroeconomic conditions outside of Altria’s control.
Although Altria’s discounted cash flow analysis is based on assumptions that are considered reasonable and based on the best available information at the time that the discounted cash flow analysis is developed, there is significant judgment used in determining future cash flows. The following factors have the most potential to impact expected future cash flows and, therefore, Altria’s impairment conclusions: general economic conditions; federal, state and local regulatory developments; category growth rates; consumer preferences; success of planned product expansions; competitive activity; and income and tobacco-related taxes. For further discussion of these factors, see Operating Results by Business Segment - Tobacco Space - Business Environment below.
While Altria’s management believes that the estimated fair values of each reporting unit and indefinite-lived intangible asset are reasonable, actual performance in the short-term or long-term could be significantly different from forecasted performance, which could result in impairment charges in future periods.
For additional information on goodwill and other intangible assets, see Note 4. Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets, net to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8.
Altria reviews its investment in AB InBev for impairment by comparing the fair value of its investment to its carrying value. If the carrying value of Altria’s investment exceeds its fair value and the loss in value is other than temporary, the investment is considered impaired and impairment is recognized in the period identified. The factors used to make this determination include the duration and magnitude of the fair value decline, AB InBev’s financial condition and near-term prospects, and Altria’s intent and ability to hold its investment in AB InBev until recovery.
The fair value of Altria’s equity investment in AB InBev at December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017 was $13.1 billion and $22.1 billion, respectively, compared with its carrying value of $17.7 billion and $18.0 billion, respectively. At December 31, 2018, the fair value of Altria’s equity investment in AB InBev was less than its carrying value by approximately 26%. At February 22, 2019, the fair value of Altria’s equity investment in AB InBev was approximately $14.7 billion (approximately 17% below its carrying value). Altria concluded that the decline in fair value of its investment in AB InBev below its carrying value is temporary and, therefore, no impairment was recorded. This conclusion is based on: (i) the fair value of Altria’s equity investment in AB InBev having historically exceeded its carrying value since October 2016, when Altria obtained its ownership interest in AB InBev, (ii) the period of time that AB InBev shares have traded below Altria’s carrying value (began in September 2018) and the magnitude by which the carrying value of Altria’s investment in AB InBev exceeds its fair value, (iii) AB InBev’s global platform (world’s largest brewer by volume and one of the world’s top five consumer products companies by revenue) with strong market positions in key markets, geographic diversification, experienced management team, financial condition, expected earnings and history of performance, and (iv) Altria’s ownership of restricted shares being subject to a five-year lock-up (subject to limited exceptions) ending October 10, 2021,


17


which Altria believes provides sufficient time to allow for an anticipated recovery in the fair value of its investment in AB InBev.
If Altria were to conclude that the decline in fair value is other than temporary, Altria would determine and recognize, in the period identified, the impairment of its investment in AB InBev, which could result in a material adverse effect on Altria’s consolidated financial position or earnings. For additional information, see Note 7.
Altria reviews its investment in JUUL for impairment by performing a qualitative assessment of impairment indicators. If a qualitative assessment indicates that Altria’s investment in JUUL is impaired and the fair value of the investment is less than its carrying value, the investment is written down to its fair value. At December 31, 2018, there was no indication of impairment. For additional information, see Note 8.
Marketing Costs: Altria’s businesses promote their products with consumer incentives, trade promotions and consumer engagement programs. These consumer incentive and trade promotion activities, which include discounts, coupons, rebates, in-store display incentives and volume-based incentives, do not create a distinct deliverable and are, therefore, recorded as a reduction of revenues. Consumer engagement program payments are made to third parties. Altria’s businesses expense these consumer engagement programs, which include event marketing, as incurred and such expenses are included in marketing, administration and research costs in Altria’s consolidated statements of earnings. For interim reporting purposes, Altria’s businesses charge consumer engagement programs and certain consumer incentive expenses to operations as a percentage of sales, based on estimated sales and related expenses for the full year.
Contingencies: As discussed in Note 19 and Item 3, legal proceedings covering a wide range of matters are pending or threatened in various United States and foreign jurisdictions against Altria and its subsidiaries, including PM USA and UST and its subsidiaries, as well as their respective indemnitees. In 1998, PM USA and certain other U.S. tobacco product manufacturers entered into the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (the “MSA”) with 46 states and various other governments and jurisdictions to settle asserted and unasserted health care cost recovery and other claims. PM USA and certain other U.S. tobacco product manufacturers had previously entered into agreements to settle similar claims brought by Mississippi, Florida, Texas and Minnesota (together with the MSA, the “State Settlement Agreements”). PM USA’s portion of ongoing adjusted payments and legal fees is based on its relative share of the settling manufacturers’ domestic cigarette shipments, including roll-your-own cigarettes, in the year preceding that in which the payment is due. In addition, PM USA, Middleton, Nat Sherman and USSTC are subject to quarterly user fees imposed by the FDA as a result of the FSPTCA. Payments under the State Settlement Agreements and the FDA user fees are based on variable factors, such as volume, operating income, market share and inflation, depending on the subject payment. Altria’s subsidiaries account for the cost of the State Settlement
 
Agreements and FDA user fees as a component of cost of sales. Altria’s subsidiaries recorded approximately $4.5 billion, $4.7 billion and $4.9 billion of charges to cost of sales for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively, in connection with the State Settlement Agreements and FDA user fees.
Altria and its subsidiaries record provisions in the consolidated financial statements for pending litigation when they determine that an unfavorable outcome is probable and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. At the present time, while it is reasonably possible that an unfavorable outcome in a case may occur, except to the extent discussed in Note 19 and Item 3: (i) management has concluded that it is not probable that a loss has been incurred in any of the pending tobacco-related cases; (ii) management is unable to estimate the possible loss or range of loss that could result from an unfavorable outcome in any of the pending tobacco-related cases; and (iii) accordingly, management has not provided any amounts in the consolidated financial statements for unfavorable outcomes, if any. Litigation defense costs are expensed as incurred and included in marketing, administration and research costs in the consolidated statements of earnings.
Employee Benefit Plans: As discussed in Note 17. Benefit Plans to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 17”), Altria provides a range of benefits to certain employees and retired employees, including pension, postretirement health care and postemployment benefits. Altria records annual amounts relating to these plans based on calculations specified by U.S. GAAP, which include various actuarial assumptions as to discount rates, assumed rates of return on plan assets, mortality, compensation increases, turnover rates and health care cost trend rates. Altria reviews its actuarial assumptions on an annual basis and makes modifications to the assumptions based on current rates and trends when it is deemed appropriate to do so. Any effect of the modifications is generally amortized over future periods.
Altria recognizes the funded status of its defined benefit pension and other postretirement plans on the consolidated balance sheet and records as a component of other comprehensive earnings (losses), net of deferred income taxes, the gains or losses and prior service costs or credits that have not been recognized as components of net periodic benefit cost. The gains or losses and prior service costs or credits recorded as components of other comprehensive earnings (losses) are subsequently amortized into net periodic benefit cost in future years.
At December 31, 2018, Altria’s discount rate assumptions for its pension and postretirement plans obligations increased from 3.7% to 4.4% at December 31, 2018. Altria presently anticipates a decrease of approximately $15 million in its 2019 pre-tax pension and postretirement expense versus 2018, excluding amounts in each year related to termination, settlement and curtailment. This anticipated decrease is due primarily to lower amortization of unrecognized losses, partially offset by higher interest costs, each driven by the impact of higher discount rates. Assuming no change to the shape of the yield curve, a 50 basis point decrease in Altria’s discount rates would increase Altria’s pension and postretirement expense by approximately $46


18


million, and a 50 basis point increase in Altria’s discount rates would decrease Altria’s pension and postretirement expense by approximately $42 million. Similarly, a 50 basis point decrease (increase) in the expected return on plan assets would increase (decrease) Altria’s pension and postretirement expense by approximately $38 million. See Note 17 for a sensitivity discussion of the assumed health care cost trend rates.
Income Taxes: Significant judgment is required in determining income tax provisions and in evaluating tax positions. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on the difference between the financial statement and tax bases of assets and liabilities, using enacted tax rates in effect for the year in which the differences are expected to reverse. Altria records a valuation allowance when it is more-likely-than-not that some portion or all of a deferred tax asset will not be realized.
Altria recognizes a benefit for uncertain tax positions when a tax position taken or expected to be taken in a tax return is more-likely-than-not to be sustained upon examination by taxing authorities. The amount recognized is measured as the largest amount of benefit that is greater than 50% likely of being realized upon ultimate settlement. Altria recognizes accrued interest and penalties associated with uncertain tax positions as part of the provision for income taxes in its consolidated statements of earnings.
Altria recognized income tax benefits and charges in the consolidated statements of earnings during 2018, 2017 and 2016 as a result of various tax events, including the impact of the Tax Reform Act.
The main provisions of the Tax Reform Act that impact Altria include: (i) a reduction in the U.S. federal statutory corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% effective January 1, 2018, and (ii) changes in the treatment of foreign-source income, commonly referred to as a modified territorial tax system.
The transition to a modified territorial tax system required Altria to record a deemed repatriation tax and an associated tax basis benefit in 2017. The tax impact related to the tax basis benefit and the deemed repatriation tax was based on provisional estimates as of January 18, 2018, substantially all of which were related to Altria’s share of AB InBev’s accumulated earnings and associated taxes. Altria recorded adjustments to the provisional estimates in 2018. The accounting for the repatriation tax is complete; therefore, no further adjustments to the provisional estimates are required.
For additional information on income taxes, see Note 15.
 
Consolidated Operating Results
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
(in millions)
2018

 
2017

 
2016

Net Revenues:
 
 
 
 
 
Smokeable products
$
22,297

 
$
22,636

 
$
22,851

Smokeless products
2,262

 
2,155

 
2,051

Wine
691

 
698

 
746

All other
114

 
87

 
96

Net revenues
$
25,364

 
$
25,576

 
$
25,744

Excise Taxes on Products:
 
 
 
 
 
Smokeable products
$
5,585

 
$
5,927

 
$
6,247

Smokeless products
131

 
132

 
135

Wine
21

 
23

 
25

Excise taxes on products
$
5,737

 
$
6,082

 
$
6,407

Operating Income:
 
 
 
 
 
Operating companies income (loss):
 
 
 
 
 
Smokeable products
$
8,408

 
$
8,426

 
$
7,766

Smokeless products
1,431

 
1,306

 
1,172

Wine
50

 
146

 
164

All other
(421
)
 
(51
)
 
(98
)
Amortization of intangibles
(38
)
 
(21
)
 
(21
)
General corporate expenses
(315
)
 
(213
)
 
(217
)
Corporate asset impairment and exit costs

 

 
(5
)
Operating income
$
9,115

 
$
9,593

 
$
8,761

As discussed further in Note 16. Segment Reporting to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 16”), the CODM reviews operating companies income to evaluate the performance of, and allocate resources to, the segments. Operating companies income for the segments is defined as operating income before general corporate expenses and amortization of intangibles. Management believes it is appropriate to disclose this measure to help investors analyze the business performance and trends of the various business segments.
The following events that occurred during 2018, 2017 and 2016 affected the comparability of statement of earnings amounts.
Asset Impairment, Exit, Implementation and Acquisition-Related Costs: Pre-tax asset impairment, exit, implementation and acquisition-related costs for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 were $538 million, $89 million and $206 million, respectively.
In December 2018, Altria:
announced its decision to refocus its innovative product efforts, which includes Nu Mark’s discontinuation of production and distribution of all e-vapor products;
announced a cost reduction program (which includes, among other things, reducing third-party spending and workforce reductions across the businesses) that it expects will deliver approximately $575 million in annualized cost savings by the end of 2019; and
incurred pre-tax acquisition-related costs to effect the investment in JUUL (For further information regarding Altria’s investment in JUUL, see Note 8).
In October 2016, Altria announced the consolidation of


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certain of its operating companies’ manufacturing facilities to streamline operations and achieve greater efficiencies. The consolidation was completed in the first quarter of 2018 and delivered Altria’s goal of approximately $50 million in annualized cost savings as of December 31, 2018.
In January 2016, Altria announced a productivity initiative designed to maintain its operating companies’ leadership and cost competitiveness. The initiative, which reduced spending on certain selling, general and administrative infrastructure and implemented a leaner organizational structure, delivered Altria’s goal of approximately $300 million in annualized productivity savings as of December 31, 2017.
For further discussion on asset impairment, exit and implementation costs, including a breakdown of these costs by segment, see Note 5. Asset Impairment, Exit and Implementation Costs to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8.
Loss/gain on AB InBev/SABMiller Business Combination: For the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, Altria recorded a pre-tax loss of $33 million and a pre-tax gain of $445 million, respectively, related to AB InBev’s divestitures of certain SABMiller assets and businesses in connection with Legacy AB InBev obtaining necessary regulatory clearances for the AB InBev Transaction. As a result of the AB InBev Transaction, for the year ended December 31, 2016, Altria recorded a pre-tax gain of approximately $13.9 billion. For further discussion, see Note 7.
NPM Adjustment Items: For a discussion of NPM Adjustment Items and a breakdown of these items by segment, see Health Care Cost Recovery Litigation - NPM Adjustment Disputes in Note 19 and NPM Adjustment Items in Note 16, respectively.
Tobacco and Health Litigation Items: For a discussion of tobacco and health litigation items and a breakdown of these costs by segment, see Note 19 and Note 16, respectively.
Settlement for Lump Sum Pension Payments: In the third quarter of 2017, Altria made a voluntary, limited-time offer to former employees with vested benefits in the Altria Retirement Plan who had not commenced receiving benefit payments and who met certain other conditions. Eligible participants were offered the opportunity to make a one-time election to receive their pension benefit as a single lump sum payment or as a monthly annuity. As a result of the 2017 lump sum distributions, a one-time pre-tax settlement charge of $81 million was recorded in 2017 in net periodic benefit (income) cost, excluding service cost, in Altria’s consolidated statement of earnings. For further discussion, see Note 16.
Loss on Early Extinguishment of Debt: During 2016, Altria completed a debt tender offer to purchase for cash certain of its senior unsecured notes in aggregate principal amount of $0.9 billion.
As a result of the debt tender offer, a pre-tax loss on early extinguishment of debt was recorded as follows:
 
(in millions)
 
2016

Premiums and fees
 
$
809

Write-off of unamortized debt discounts and debt issuance costs
 
14

Total
 
$
823

For further discussion, see Note 10. Long-Term Debt to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 10”).
AB InBev/SABMiller Special Items: Altria’s earnings from its equity investment in AB InBev for 2018 included net pre-tax income of $85 million, consisting primarily of Altria’s share of AB InBev’s estimated effect of the Tax Reform Act and gains related to AB InBev’s merger and acquisition activities, partially offset by Altria’s share of AB InBev’s mark-to-market losses on AB InBev’s derivative financial instruments used to hedge certain share commitments.
Altria’s earnings from its equity investment in AB InBev for 2017 included net pre-tax charges of $160 million, consisting primarily of Altria’s share of AB InBev’s Brazilian tax item and Altria’s share of AB InBev’s mark-to-market losses on AB InBev’s derivative financial instruments used to hedge certain share commitments.
Altria’s earnings from its equity investment in SABMiller for 2016 included net pre-tax income of $89 million, due primarily to a pre-tax non-cash gain of $309 million, reflecting Altria’s share of SABMiller’s increase to shareholders’ equity, resulting from the completion of the SABMiller, The Coca-Cola Company and Gutsche Family Investments transaction, combining bottling operations in Africa, partially offset by Altria’s share of SABMiller’s costs related to the AB InBev Transaction and asset impairment charges.
Tax Items: Tax items for 2018 included tax expense of $188 million related to the Tax Reform Act as follows: (i) tax expense of $140 million resulting from a partial reversal of the tax basis benefit associated with the deemed repatriation tax recorded in 2017; (ii) tax expense of $34 million for a valuation allowance on foreign tax credit carryforwards that are not realizable as a result of updates to the provisional estimates recorded in 2017; and (iii) tax expense of $14 million for an adjustment to the provisional estimates for the repatriation tax recorded in 2017.
Tax items for 2017 included net tax benefits of $3,367 million related to the Tax Reform Act recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017 as follows: (i) a tax benefit of $3,017 million to re-measure Altria and its consolidated subsidiaries’ net deferred tax liabilities based on the new U.S. federal statutory rate; and (ii) a net tax benefit of $763 million for a tax basis adjustment associated with the deemed repatriation tax, partially offset by tax expense of $413 million for the deemed repatriation tax. Additional tax items for 2017 included tax benefits for the release of a valuation allowance related to deferred income tax assets for foreign tax credit carryforwards; and tax benefits related primarily to the effective settlement in 2017 of the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) audit of Altria and its consolidated subsidiaries’ 2010-2013 tax years (“IRS 2010-2013 Audit”), partially offset by


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tax expense for tax reserves related to the calculation of certain foreign tax credits.
Tax items for 2016 primarily included the reversal of tax accruals no longer required.
For further discussion, see Note 15.
2018 Compared with 2017
Net revenues, which include excise taxes billed to customers, decreased $212 million (0.8%), due primarily to lower net revenues in the smokeable products segment, partially offset by higher net revenues in the smokeless products segment.
Cost of sales decreased $158 million (2.1%), due primarily to lower shipment volume in the smokeable products segment and higher NPM Adjustment Items, partially offset by higher costs in the smokeable products segment and higher implementation costs.
Excise taxes on products decreased $345 million (5.7%), due primarily to lower smokeable products segment shipment volume.
Marketing, administration and research costs increased $418 million (17.9%), due primarily to higher costs in the smokeable products segment and the wine segment, acquisition-related costs to effect the investment in JUUL and higher investment spending in the innovative tobacco products businesses.
Operating income decreased $478 million (5.0%), due primarily to lower operating results from the innovative tobacco products businesses (which included asset impairment, exit and implementation costs) and wine segment, and acquisition-related costs to effect the investment in JUUL, partially offset by higher operating results from the smokeless products segment.
Earnings from Altria’s equity investment in AB InBev, which increased $358 million (67.3%), were positively impacted by AB InBev special items.
Altria’s effective income tax rate increased 29.5 percentage points to an effective income tax provision rate of 25.4%, substantially all of which was due to the Tax Reform Act. For further discussion, see Note 15.
Net earnings attributable to Altria of $6,963 million decreased $3,259 million (31.9%), due primarily to a higher effective income tax rate, lower operating income and a 2017 gain on the AB InBev Transaction, partially offset by higher earnings from Altria’s equity investment in AB InBev. Basic and diluted EPS attributable to Altria of $3.69 and $3.68, respectively, decreased by 30.5% and 30.7%, respectively, due to lower net earnings attributable to Altria, partially offset by fewer shares outstanding.
2017 Compared with 2016
Net revenues, which include excise taxes billed to customers, decreased $168 million (0.7%), due primarily to lower net revenues in the smokeable products and wine segments, partially offset by higher net revenues in the smokeless products segment.
Cost of sales decreased $234 million (3.0%), due primarily to lower smokeable products segment shipment volume, partially offset by higher per unit settlement charges.
Excise taxes on products decreased $325 million (5.1%), due primarily to lower smokeable products segment shipment volume.
Marketing, administration and research costs decreased $324 million (12.2%), due primarily to lower costs in the smokeable products segment.
 
Operating income increased $832 million (9.5%), due primarily to higher operating results from the smokeable and smokeless products segments (which included lower asset impairment and exit costs).
Interest and other debt expense, net, decreased $42 million (5.6%), due primarily to lower interest costs on debt in 2017 as a result of debt refinancing activities in 2016 and higher interest income due to higher interest rates in 2017.
Earnings from Altria’s equity investment in AB InBev/SABMiller, which decreased $263 million (33.1%), were negatively impacted by AB InBev/SABMiller special items.
Altria’s effective income tax rate decreased 38.9 percentage points to an effective income tax benefit rate of 4.1%, substantially all of which was due to the Tax Reform Act. For further discussion, see Note 15.
Net earnings attributable to Altria of $10,222 million decreased $4,017 million (28.2%), due primarily to a lower gain on the AB InBev Transaction in 2017 and lower earnings from Altria’s equity investment in AB InBev/SABMiller, partially offset by a lower effective income tax rate, a loss on early extinguishment of debt in 2016 and higher operating income. Basic and diluted EPS attributable to Altria of $5.31, each decreased by 27.1% due to lower net earnings attributable to Altria, partially offset by fewer shares outstanding.

    
Operating Results by Business Segment
Tobacco Space
Business Environment
Summary
The United States tobacco industry faces a number of business and legal challenges that have adversely affected and may adversely affect the business and sales volume of our tobacco subsidiaries and investees and our consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position. These challenges, some of which are discussed in more detail in Note 19, Item 1A and Item 3, include:
pending and threatened litigation and bonding requirements;
restrictions and requirements imposed by the FSPTCA, and restrictions and requirements (and related enforcement actions) that have been, and in the future will be, imposed by the FDA;
actual and proposed excise tax increases, as well as changes in tax structures and tax stamping requirements;
bans and restrictions on tobacco use imposed by governmental entities and private establishments and employers;
other federal, state and local government actions, including:
restrictions on the sale of tobacco products by certain retail establishments, the sale of certain tobacco products with certain characterizing flavors (such as menthol) and the sale of tobacco products in certain package sizes;


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additional restrictions on the advertising and promotion of tobacco products;
other actual and proposed tobacco product legislation and regulation; and
governmental investigations;
the diminishing prevalence of cigarette smoking and increased efforts by tobacco control advocates and others (including retail establishments) to further restrict tobacco use;
changes in adult tobacco consumer purchase behavior, which is influenced by various factors such as economic conditions, excise taxes and price gap relationships, may result in adult tobacco consumers switching to discount products or other lower priced tobacco products;
the highly competitive nature of the tobacco categories in which our tobacco subsidiaries operate, including competitive disadvantages related to cigarette price increases attributable to the settlement of certain litigation;
illicit trade in tobacco products; and
potential adverse changes in prices, availability and quality of tobacco, other raw materials and component parts.
In addition to and in connection with the foregoing, evolving adult tobacco consumer preferences pose challenges for Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries. Our tobacco subsidiaries believe that a significant number of adult tobacco consumers switch among tobacco categories, use multiple forms of tobacco products and try innovative tobacco products, such as e-vapor products and oral tobacco-derived nicotine products. The e-vapor category grew rapidly from 2012 through early 2015 off a small base, but then plateaued. The growth trend resumed in 2017 and accelerated rapidly in 2018. Growth of the e-vapor category and other innovative tobacco products has negatively impacted consumption levels and sales volume of other tobacco product categories. In connection with this rapid growth trend in the e-vapor category, Altria anticipates that the U.S. cigarette industry volume decline rate may exceed the recent long-term decline rate, with expected annual decline rates of 3.5% - 5% in 2019 and 4% - 5% in 2019 through 2023. Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries believe the innovative tobacco product categories will continue to be dynamic as adult tobacco consumers explore a variety of tobacco product options and as the regulatory environment for these innovative tobacco products evolves.
Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries work to meet these evolving adult tobacco consumer preferences over time by developing, manufacturing, marketing and distributing products both within and outside the United States through innovation and adjacency growth strategies (including, where appropriate, arrangements with, or investments in, third parties). See the discussions regarding new product technologies, adjacency growth strategy and evolving consumer preferences in Item 1A for certain risks associated with the foregoing discussion.
 
We have provided additional detail on the following topics below:
FSPTCA and FDA Regulation;
Excise Taxes;
International Treaty on Tobacco Control;
State Settlement Agreements;
Other Federal, State and Local Regulation and Activity;
Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products;
Price, Availability and Quality of Tobacco, Other Raw Materials and Component Parts; and
Timing of Sales.
FSPTCA and FDA Regulation
The Regulatory Framework: The FSPTCA expressly establishes certain restrictions and prohibitions on our tobacco businesses and authorizes or requires further FDA action. Under the FSPTCA, the FDA has broad authority to (1) regulate the design, manufacture, packaging, advertising, promotion, sale and distribution of tobacco products; (2) require disclosures of related information; and (3) enforce the FSPTCA and related regulations. The FSPTCA went into effect in 2009 for cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and smokeless tobacco products and in August 2016 for all other tobacco products, including cigars, e-vapor products, pipe tobacco and oral tobacco-derived nicotine products (“Other Tobacco Products”). See FDA Regulatory Actions - Deeming Regulations below.
Among other measures, the FSPTCA or its implementing regulations:
imposes restrictions on the advertising, promotion, sale and distribution of tobacco products, including at retail;
bans descriptors such as “light,” “mild” or “low” or similar descriptors when used as descriptors of modified risk unless expressly authorized by the FDA;
requires extensive product disclosures to the FDA and may require public disclosures;
prohibits any express or implied claims that a tobacco product is or may be less harmful than other tobacco products without FDA authorization;
imposes reporting obligations relating to contraband activity and grants the FDA authority to impose recordkeeping and other obligations to address illicit trade in tobacco products;
changes the language of the cigarette and smokeless tobacco product health warnings, enlarges their size and requires the development by the FDA of graphic warnings for cigarettes, establishes warning requirements for Other Tobacco Products and gives the FDA the authority to require new warnings for any type of tobacco products;
authorizes the FDA to adopt product regulations and related actions, including imposing tobacco product standards that are appropriate for the protection of the public health (e.g., related to the use of menthol in


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cigarettes, nicotine yields and other constituents or ingredients) and imposing manufacturing standards for tobacco products (see FDA’s Comprehensive Regulatory Plan for Tobacco and Nicotine Regulation, and FDA Regulatory Actions - Potential Product Standards below);
establishes pre-market review pathways for new and modified tobacco products for the FDA to follow (see Pre-Market Review Pathways Including Substantial Equivalence below); and
equips the FDA with a variety of investigatory and enforcement tools, including the authority to inspect tobacco product manufacturing and other facilities.
Pre-Market Review Pathways Including Substantial Equivalence: The FSPTCA imposes restrictions on marketing new and modified tobacco products, requiring FDA review to begin marketing a new product or continue marketing a modified product. Specifically, cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and smokeless tobacco products modified or first introduced into the market after March 22, 2011, and Other Tobacco Products modified or first introduced into the market after August 8, 2016, are subjected to new tobacco product application and pre-market review and authorization requirements unless a manufacturer can demonstrate they are “substantially equivalent” to products commercially marketed as of February 15, 2007. The FDA could deny any such new tobacco product application, thereby preventing the distribution and sale of any product affected by such denial.
For cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and smokeless tobacco products modified or first introduced into the market between February 15, 2007 and March 22, 2011 (“provisional products”) for which a manufacturer submitted substantial equivalence reports that the FDA determines are not “substantially equivalent” to products commercially marketed as of February 15, 2007, the FDA could require the removal of such products from the marketplace (see FDA Regulatory Actions - Substantial Equivalence and Other New Product Processes/Pathways below).
Similarly, the FDA could determine that Other Tobacco Products modified or first introduced into the market between February 15, 2007 and August 8, 2016 for which a manufacturer submits substantial equivalence reports that the FDA determines are not “substantially equivalent” to products commercially marketed as of February 15, 2007, or rejects a new tobacco product application submitted by a manufacturer, both of which could require the removal of such products from the marketplace (see FDA’s Comprehensive Regulatory Plan for Tobacco and Nicotine Regulation, and FDA Regulatory Actions - Substantial Equivalence and Other New Product Processes/Pathways below).
Modifications to currently-marketed products, including modifications that result from, for example, a supplier being unable to maintain the consistency required in ingredients or a manufacturer being unable to obtain the ingredients with the required specifications, can trigger the FDA’s pre-market review process described above. As noted, adverse determinations by the FDA during that process could restrict a manufacturer’s ability to continue marketing such products.
 
FDA’s Comprehensive Regulatory Plan for Tobacco and Nicotine Regulation: In July 2017, the FDA announced a comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation that will serve as the FDA’s multi-year regulatory road map (the “July 2017 Comprehensive Plan”). The FDA has stated its belief that this approach will strike an appropriate balance between regulation and encouraging development of innovative tobacco products that may be less risky than cigarettes. Major components of the July 2017 Comprehensive Plan include the following:
issuance of advance notices of proposed rulemaking (“ANPRM”) seeking comments for potential future regulations establishing product standards for (i) nicotine in combustible cigarettes, (ii) flavors in tobacco products and (iii) e-vapor products (see FDA Regulatory Actions - Potential Product Standards below);
extension of the timelines to submit applications for Other Tobacco Products that were on the market as of August 8, 2016, which the FDA extended in August 2017 (see FDA Regulatory Actions - Substantial Equivalence and Other New Product Processes/Pathways below);
the FDA’s reconsideration of its approach to reviewing substantial equivalence reports for provisional products (see FDA Regulatory Actions - Substantial Equivalence and Other New Product Processes/Pathways below). As previously noted, a “provisional” product refers to cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and smokeless tobacco products modified or first commercially available after February 15, 2007 and before March 22, 2011; and
the FDA’s planned issuance of foundational regulations identifying the information the FDA expects to be included in substantial equivalence reports and applications for “new tobacco products” and “modified risk tobacco products.” The FDA also plans to finalize guidance on how it intends to review new product applications for e-vapor products.
In September 2018, the FDA announced that, while it continues to be committed to the approach outlined in the July 2017 Comprehensive Plan, it is taking a number of steps to address underage use of e-vapor products, including (i) re-examining the FDA’s compliance policy that extended the dates for manufacturers of certain e-vapor products to submit applications for pre-market authorization and (ii) issuing letters to the manufacturers of certain e-vapor products requiring them to submit to the FDA plans for addressing youth access and use of e-vapor products. See FDA Regulatory Actions - Underage Access and Use of E-vapor Products below for steps Altria has taken in response to this request from the FDA.
In November 2018, the FDA announced additional steps it is considering taking with respect to flavored tobacco products because of concerns that these products are appealing to youth, including:


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revisiting its compliance policy regarding sales of flavored e-vapor products other than tobacco, mint and menthol by restricting sales to age-restricted, in-person locations and, if sold online, under heightened practices for age verification;
proposing rulemaking that would seek to ban menthol in combustible tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigars;
revisiting the extended timeline to submit applications for flavored cigars that were on the market as of August 8, 2016; and
proposing a product standard to ban flavors in all cigars including products on the market as of August 8, 2016.
The FDA is monitoring youth tobacco usage rates, particularly usage rates of e-vapor products, and has indicated that it may exercise its regulatory authority by implementing measures designed to decrease youth tobacco use, potentially including the removal of e-vapor products from the market.
Implementation Timing, Rulemaking and Guidance: The implementation of the FSPTCA began in 2009 for cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and smokeless tobacco products and in August 2016 for Other Tobacco Products and will continue over time. The provisions of the FSPTCA that require the FDA to take action through rulemaking generally involve consideration of public comment and, for some issues, scientific review. As required by the FSPTCA, the FDA has established a tobacco product scientific advisory committee (the “TPSAC”), which consists of voting and non-voting members, to provide advice, reports, information and recommendations to the FDA on scientific and health issues relating to tobacco products. TPSAC votes are considered by the FDA, but are not binding. From time to time, the FDA issues guidance that also generally involves public comment, which may be issued in draft or final form.
Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries participate actively in processes established by the FDA to develop and implement the FSPTCA’s regulatory framework, including submission of comments to various FDA proposals and participation in public hearings and engagement sessions.
The implementation of the FSPTCA and related regulations and guidance also may have an impact on enforcement efforts by states, territories and localities of the United States of their laws and regulations as well as of the State Settlement Agreements discussed below (see State Settlement Agreements below).  Such enforcement efforts may adversely affect our tobacco subsidiaries’ ability to market and sell regulated tobacco products in those states, territories and localities.
Impact on Our Business; Compliance Costs and User Fees: Regulations imposed and other regulatory actions taken by the FDA under the FSPTCA could have a material adverse effect on the business, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries in a number of different ways. For example, actions by the FDA could:
impact the consumer acceptability of tobacco products;
 
delay, discontinue or prevent the sale or distribution of existing, new or modified tobacco products;
limit adult tobacco consumer choices;
impose restrictions on communications with adult tobacco consumers;
create a competitive advantage or disadvantage for certain tobacco companies;
impose additional manufacturing, labeling or packaging requirements;
impose additional restrictions at retail;
result in increased illicit trade in tobacco products; or
otherwise significantly increase the cost of doing business.
The failure to comply with FDA regulatory requirements, even inadvertently, and FDA enforcement actions could also have a material adverse effect on the business, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries.
The FSPTCA imposes user fees on cigarette, cigarette tobacco, smokeless tobacco, cigar and pipe tobacco manufacturers and importers to pay for the cost of regulation and other matters. The FSPTCA does not impose user fees on e-vapor product manufacturers. The cost of the FDA user fee is allocated first among tobacco product categories subject to FDA regulation and then among manufacturers and importers within each respective category based on their relative market shares, all as prescribed by the statute and FDA regulations. Payments for user fees are adjusted for several factors, including inflation, market share and industry volume. For a discussion of the impact of the FDA user fee payments on Altria, see Financial Review - Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements and Aggregate Contractual Obligations - Payments Under State Settlement Agreements and FDA Regulation below. In addition, compliance with the FSPTCA’s regulatory requirements has resulted and will continue to result in additional costs for our tobacco businesses. The amount of additional compliance and related costs has not been material in any given quarter or year to date period but could become material, either individually or in the aggregate, to one or more of our tobacco subsidiaries.
Investigation and Enforcement: The FDA has a number of investigatory and enforcement tools available to it, including document requests and other required information submissions, facility inspections, examinations and investigations, injunction proceedings, monetary penalties, product withdrawal and recall orders, and product seizures. The use of any of these investigatory or enforcement tools by the FDA could result in significant costs to the tobacco businesses of Altria or otherwise have a material adverse effect on the business, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries.
Final Tobacco Marketing Rule: As required by the FSPTCA, the FDA re-promulgated in March 2010 a wide range of advertising and promotion restrictions in substantially the same form as regulations that were previously adopted in 1996 (but


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never imposed on tobacco manufacturers due to a United States Supreme Court ruling) (the “Final Tobacco Marketing Rule”). The May 2016 amendments to the Final Tobacco Marketing Rule (instituted as part of the FDA’s deeming regulations) apply certain provisions to certain “covered tobacco products,” which include cigars, e-vapor products containing nicotine or other tobacco derivatives, pipe tobacco and oral tobacco-derived nicotine products, but do not include any component or part that is not made or derived from tobacco. The Final Tobacco Marketing Rule as so amended:
bans the use of color and graphics in cigarette and smokeless tobacco product labeling and advertising;
prohibits the sale of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and covered tobacco products to persons under the age of 18;
restricts the use of non-tobacco trade and brand names on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products;
requires the sale of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in direct, face-to-face transactions;
prohibits sampling of cigarettes and covered tobacco products and prohibits sampling of smokeless tobacco products except in qualified adult-only facilities;
prohibits the sale or distribution of items such as hats and tee shirts with cigarette or smokeless tobacco brands or logos; and
prohibits cigarettes and smokeless tobacco brand name sponsorship of any athletic, musical, artistic or other social or cultural event, or any entry or team in any event.
Subject to certain limitations arising from legal challenges, the Final Tobacco Marketing Rule took effect in June 2010 for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products and in August 2016 for covered tobacco products. At the time of the re-promulgation of the Final Tobacco Marketing Rule, the FDA also issued an ANPRM regarding the so-called “1000 foot rule,” which would establish restrictions on the placement of outdoor tobacco advertising in relation to schools and playgrounds. PM USA and USSTC submitted comments on this ANPRM.
FDA Regulatory Actions
Graphic Warnings: In June 2011, as required by the FSPTCA, the FDA issued its final rule to modify the required warnings that appear on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements.  The FSPTCA requires the warnings to consist of nine new textual warning statements accompanied by color graphics depicting the negative health consequences of smoking.  The graphic health warnings will (i) be located beneath the cellophane, and comprise the top 50% of the front and rear panels of cigarette packages and (ii) occupy 20% of a cigarette advertisement and be located at the top of the advertisement. After a legal challenge to the rule, the FDA announced its plans to propose a new graphic warnings rule in the future.
Substantial Equivalence and Other New Product Processes/Pathways: In general, in order to continue marketing provisional products, manufacturers of such products were
 
required to send to the FDA a report demonstrating substantial equivalence by March 22, 2011 for the FDA to determine if such tobacco products are “substantially equivalent” to products commercially available as of February 15, 2007.  Most cigarette and smokeless tobacco products currently marketed by PM USA and USSTC are provisional products, as are some of the products currently marketed by Nat Sherman. Our subsidiaries submitted timely substantial equivalence reports for these provisional products and can continue marketing these products unless the FDA makes a determination that a specific provisional product is not substantially equivalent. If the FDA ultimately makes such a determination, it could require the removal of such products from the marketplace. In April 2018, the FDA announced that it will not review a certain subset of provisional product substantial equivalence reports and that those products can generally continue to be legally marketed without further FDA review. PM USA and USSTC have provisional products included in this subset of products, but also have provisional products that will continue to be subject to the substantial equivalence review process as discussed below. In addition, PM USA and USSTC submitted substantial equivalence reports on products proposed to be marketed after March 22, 2011 (“non-provisional” products). While our cigarette and smokeless tobacco subsidiaries believe all of their current products meet the statutory requirements of the FSPTCA, they cannot predict whether, when or how the FDA ultimately will apply its guidance to their various respective substantial equivalence reports or seek to enforce the law and regulations consistent with its guidance.
PM USA and USSTC have received decisions on certain provisional and non-provisional products. The provisional products that were found to be not substantially equivalent (all smokeless tobacco products) had been discontinued for business reasons prior to the FDA’s determination; therefore, the determinations did not impact business results. In February 2018, USSTC filed a lawsuit challenging the FDA’s determination that certain of its non-provisional products are not substantially equivalent. In June 2018, the FDA reversed its determination and found that such products were substantially equivalent. As a result, USSTC dismissed its lawsuit.
There remain a significant number of substantial equivalence reports for products for which the FDA has not announced decisions and that do not fall within the scope of the FDA’s April 2018 announcement discussed above. At the request of the FDA, our cigarette and smokeless tobacco subsidiaries have provided additional information with respect to certain of these substantial equivalence reports. We cannot predict whether this additional information will be satisfactory to the FDA to result in substantial equivalence determinations for the products covered by those reports. It is also not possible to predict how long reviews by the FDA of substantial equivalence reports or new tobacco product applications for any tobacco product will take. A “not substantially equivalent” determination or denial of a new


25


tobacco product application on one or more products could have a material adverse impact on the business, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries.
In order to continue marketing Other Tobacco Products modified or introduced into the market for the first time between February 15, 2007 and August 8, 2016, manufacturers originally were required to send to the FDA a report demonstrating substantial equivalence by May 8, 2018 or a new tobacco product application by November 8, 2018. In August 2017, the FDA extended the filing deadlines for combustible Other Tobacco Products, such as cigars and pipe tobacco, to August 8, 2021, and for non-combustible Other Tobacco Products, such as e-vapor and oral nicotine products, to August 8, 2022. The FDA also announced that it will permit manufacturers to continue to market such Other Tobacco Products until the FDA renders a decision on the applicable substantial equivalence report or new tobacco product application. However, as discussed below under Underage Access and Use of E-vapor Products, in September 2018, the FDA announced that it is re-examining these timelines for certain e-vapor products. Also, as noted above under FDA’s Comprehensive Regulatory Plan for Tobacco and Nicotine Regulation, the FDA announced in November 2018 that it proposes to revisit the extended compliance date by which manufacturers of flavored cigars first introduced into the market between February 15, 2007 and August 8, 2016 would have to submit substantial equivalence reports or new tobacco product applications for such products.
Because of the limited number of e-vapor products on the market as of February 15, 2007, e-vapor manufacturers may not be able to file substantial equivalence reports with the FDA on their e-vapor products in the market as of August 8, 2016. In such case, the e-vapor manufacturer would have to file new tobacco product applications which, among other things, demonstrate that the marketing of the e-vapor products would be appropriate for the protection of the public health. It is uncertain how the FDA will interpret the requirements for obtaining a “new tobacco product marketing order,” although as noted above the FDA has indicated its intention to issue appropriate regulations to clarify the requirements.
Manufacturers intending to first introduce new and modified cigarette, cigarette tobacco and smokeless tobacco products into the market after March 22, 2011 or intending to first introduce new and modified Other Tobacco Products into the market after August 8, 2016, must, before introducing the products into the market, submit substantial equivalence reports to the FDA and obtain “substantial equivalence orders” from the FDA or submit new tobacco product applications to the FDA and obtain “new tobacco product marketing orders” from the FDA.
The FDA issued guidance on the substantial equivalence process in 2015 entitled “Guidance for Industry: Demonstrating the Substantial Equivalence of a New Tobacco Product: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions” (“Substantial Equivalence Guidance”). The
 
guidance provides that (i) certain label changes and (ii) changes to the quantity of tobacco product(s) in a package would each require submission of newly required substantial equivalence reports and authorization from the FDA prior to marketing tobacco products with such changes, even when the tobacco product itself is not changed. In a 2016 industry legal challenge, the court concluded that a modification to an existing product’s label does not result in a “new tobacco product” subject to the substantial equivalence review process and upheld the Substantial Equivalence Guidance in all other respects. Our cigarette and smokeless tobacco subsidiaries market various products that fall within the scope of the Substantial Equivalence Guidance.
Deeming Regulations: As discussed above under FSPTCA and FDA Regulation - The Regulatory Framework, in May 2016, the FDA issued final regulations for all Other Tobacco Products, imposing the FSPTCA regulatory framework on the tobacco products manufactured, marketed and sold by Middleton and Nat Sherman. At the same time the FDA issued its final deeming regulations, it also amended the Final Tobacco Marketing Rule as described above in FSPTCA and FDA Regulation - Final Tobacco Marketing Rule. Under the new regulations, for Other Tobacco Products modified or introduced into the market for the first time between February 15, 2007 and August 8, 2016, manufacturers must demonstrate substantial equivalence to a product on the market as of February 15, 2007 or obtain a “new tobacco marketing order” by certain specified dates to continue marketing those products. For further details, see FSPTCA and FDA Regulation - FDA Regulatory Actions - Substantial Equivalence and Other New Product Processes/Pathways above.
Among the FSPTCA requirements that apply to Other Tobacco Products is a ban on descriptors, including “mild,” when used as descriptors of modified risk unless expressly authorized by the FDA. In connection with a 2016 lawsuit initiated by Middleton, the Department of Justice, on behalf of the FDA, informed Middleton that at present the FDA does not intend to bring an enforcement action against Middleton for the use of the term “mild” in the trademark “Black & Mild.” Consequently, Middleton dismissed its lawsuit without prejudice. If the FDA were to change its mind at some later date, Middleton would have the opportunity to make a submission to the FDA and ultimately, if necessary, to bring another lawsuit.
Underage Access and Use of E-vapor Products: The FDA announced in September 2018 that it is using its regulatory authority to address underage access and use of e-vapor products. As part of this effort, the FDA issued letters to manufacturers of certain e-vapor products, including Nu Mark and JUUL, requiring them to (1) discuss with the FDA the steps each manufacturer intends to take to address youth access and use of its e-vapor products and (2) within 60 days provide a detailed written plan to address underage access and use.


26


In October 2018, Altria responded to the FDA’s request for a written plan setting forth the actions it was taking to address underage access and met with the FDA. In December 2018, Altria refocused its innovative product efforts, which included the discontinuation of all Nu Mark e-vapor products. Altria’s decision was based on current and expected financial performance of its innovative products, as well as regulatory restrictions limiting the ability to quickly improve such products. Later in December, Altria purchased, through a wholly owned subsidiary, a 35% economic interest in JUUL. Following the announcement of this investment, Altria requested a meeting with the FDA to discuss the transaction and its ongoing support for underage tobacco prevention. In February 2018, the FDA sent Altria a letter expressing concern about this investment given the rise in underage use of e-vapor products and issued a statement indicating that, if the increased trend in underage use of e-vapor products does not reverse, the FDA may unilaterally take action to address the trend. Altria responded by reaffirming its ongoing and long-standing investment in underage tobacco prevention efforts. For example, Altria is advocating raising the minimum legal age to purchase all tobacco products to 21 at the federal and state levels to further address underage tobacco use. Altria will meet with the FDA to continue discussing underage e-vapor use.
If the FDA determines that it should use its regulatory authority, such as through enforcement of the pre-market authorization requirements for e-vapor products, manufacturers of such products could be required to remove the products from the market until they receive pre-market authorization.
Potential Product Standards
Nicotine and Flavors: Pursuant to the July 2017 Comprehensive Plan, in March 2018 the FDA issued an ANPRM on the following matters:
Nicotine in cigarettes and potentially other combustible tobacco products: The potential public health benefits and any possible adverse effects of lowering nicotine in combustible cigarettes to non-addictive or minimally addictive levels through achievable product standards. Specifically, the FDA is seeking comments on the consequences of such product standard, including (i) smokers compensating by smoking more cigarettes to obtain the same level of nicotine as with their current product and (ii) the illicit trade of cigarettes containing nicotine at levels higher than a non-addictive threshold that may be established by the FDA. The FDA is also seeking comments on whether a nicotine product standard should apply to other combustible tobacco products, including cigars.
PM USA, Middleton and Nat Sherman submitted public comments in response to the ANPRM regarding nicotine in cigarettes and potentially other combustible tobacco products in July 2018. This ANPRM process may ultimately lead to the FDA’s development of product standards for nicotine in combustible tobacco
 
products such as cigarettes and cigars. If such regulations were to become final and upheld in the courts, it could have a material adverse effect on the business, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria, PM USA, Middleton and Nat Sherman.
Flavors in all tobacco products: The role that flavors (including menthol) in tobacco products play in attracting youth and may play in helping some smokers switch to potentially less harmful forms of nicotine delivery. The FDA previously released its preliminary scientific evaluation on menthol, which states “that menthol cigarettes pose a public health risk above that seen with non-menthol cigarettes.” FDA’s evaluation followed an earlier report to the FDA from TPSAC on the impact of the use of menthol in cigarettes on the public health and included a recommendation that the “[r]emoval of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States” and an observation that any ban on menthol cigarettes could lead to an increase in contraband cigarettes and other potential unintended consequences. As discussed above under FDA’s Comprehensive Regulatory Plan for Tobacco and Nicotine Regulation, in November 2018, the FDA indicated that it is considering proposing rulemaking that would seek to ban menthol in combustible tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigars, and that it intends to propose a product standard that would ban flavors in all cigars including products on the market as of August 8, 2016. No future action can be taken by the FDA to regulate the manufacture, marketing or sale of menthol cigarettes (including a possible ban) until the completion of a full rulemaking process.
Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries submitted public comments in response to the ANPRM regarding flavors in tobacco products in July 2018. This ANPRM process may ultimately lead to the FDA’s development of product standards for characterizing flavors in all tobacco products, including menthol in cigarettes. If such regulations were to become final and upheld in the courts, it could have a material adverse effect on the business, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries.
The July 2017 Comprehensive Plan also includes the FDA’s intent to develop e-vapor product standards to protect against known public health risks such as battery issues and concerns about children’s exposure to liquid nicotine.
NNN in Smokeless Tobacco: In January 2017, the FDA proposed a product standard for N-nitrosonornicotine (“NNN”) levels in finished smokeless tobacco products.  USSTC submitted comments to the FDA in July 2017. If the proposed rule as presently proposed were to become final and upheld in the courts, it could have a material adverse effect on the business, consolidated


27


results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and USSTC.
Good Manufacturing Practices: The FSPTCA requires that the FDA promulgate good manufacturing practice regulations (referred to by the FDA as “Requirements for Tobacco Product Manufacturing Practice”) for tobacco product manufacturers, but does not specify a timeframe for such regulations.
Excise Taxes
Tobacco products are subject to substantial excise taxes in the United States. Significant increases in tobacco-related taxes or fees have been proposed or enacted (including with respect to e-vapor products) and are likely to continue to be proposed or enacted at the federal, state and local levels within the United States.
Federal, state and local excise taxes have increased substantially over the past decade, far outpacing the rate of inflation. By way of example, in 2009, the federal excise tax (“FET”) on cigarettes increased from $0.39 per pack to approximately $1.01 per pack; in 2010, the New York state excise tax increased by $1.60 to $4.35 per pack; in October 2014, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania enacted a $2.00 per pack local cigarette excise tax; and in November 2016, California passed a ballot measure to increase its cigarette excise tax by $2.00 per pack and its smokeless tobacco ad valorem excise tax from 27.30% to 65.08%, which went into effect on April 1, 2017 and July 1, 2017, respectively. Between the end of 1998 and February 22, 2019, the weighted-average state and certain local cigarette excise taxes increased from $0.36 to $1.79 per pack. In 2018, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Washington D.C. enacted cigarette excise tax increases. As of February 22, 2019, no state has increased its cigarette excise tax in 2019, but various increases are under consideration or have been proposed.
Tax increases are expected to continue to have an adverse impact on sales of the tobacco products of our tobacco subsidiaries through lower consumption levels and the potential shift in adult consumer purchases from the premium to the non-premium or discount segments or to other low-priced or low-taxed tobacco products or to counterfeit and contraband products. Such shifts may have an adverse impact on the sales volume and reported share performance of tobacco products of Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries.
A majority of states currently tax smokeless tobacco products using an ad valorem method, which is calculated as a percentage of the price of the product, typically the wholesale price. This ad valorem method results in more tax being paid on premium products than is paid on lower-priced products of equal weight. Altria’s subsidiaries support legislation to convert ad valorem taxes on smokeless tobacco to a weight-based methodology because, unlike the ad valorem tax, a weight-based tax subjects cans of equal weight to the same tax. As of February 22, 2019, the federal government, 23 states, Puerto Rico, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Cook County, Illinois have adopted a weight-based tax methodology for smokeless tobacco.
 
International Treaty on Tobacco Control
The World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (the “FCTC”) entered into force in February 2005. As of February 22, 2019, 180 countries, as well as the European Community, have become parties to the FCTC. While the United States is a signatory of the FCTC, it is not currently a party to the agreement, as the agreement has not been submitted to, or ratified by, the United States Senate. The FCTC is the first international public health treaty and its objective is to establish a global agenda for tobacco regulation with the purpose of reducing initiation of tobacco use and encouraging cessation. The treaty recommends (and in certain instances, requires) signatory nations to enact legislation that would, among other things: establish specific actions to prevent youth tobacco product use; restrict or eliminate all tobacco product advertising, marketing, promotion and sponsorship; initiate public education campaigns to inform the public about the health consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke and the benefits of quitting; implement regulations imposing product testing, disclosure and performance standards; impose health warning requirements on packaging; adopt measures intended to combat tobacco product smuggling and counterfeit tobacco products, including tracking and tracing of tobacco products through the distribution chain; and restrict smoking in public places.
There are a number of proposals currently under consideration by the governing body of the FCTC, some of which call for substantial restrictions on the manufacture, marketing, distribution and sale of tobacco products. In addition, the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (the “Protocol”) was approved by the Conference of Parties to the FCTC in November 2012. It includes provisions related to the tracking and tracing of tobacco products through the distribution chain and numerous other provisions regarding the regulation of the manufacture, distribution and sale of tobacco products. The Protocol has not yet entered into force, but in any event will not apply to the United States until the Senate ratifies the FCTC and until the President signs, and the Senate ratifies, the Protocol. It is not possible to predict the outcome of these proposals or the impact of any FCTC actions on legislation or regulation in the United States, either indirectly or as a result of the United States becoming a party to the FCTC, or whether or how these actions might indirectly influence FDA regulation and enforcement.
State Settlement Agreements
As discussed in Note 19, during 1997 and 1998, PM USA and other major domestic tobacco product manufacturers entered into the State Settlement Agreements. These settlements require participating manufacturers to make substantial annual payments, which are adjusted for several factors, including inflation, operating income, market share and industry volume. For a discussion of the impact of the State Settlement Agreements on Altria, see Financial Review - Off-Balance Sheet Arrangement and Contractual Obligations - Payments Under State Settlement Agreements and FDA Regulation below and Note 19. The State Settlement Agreements also place numerous requirements and restrictions on participating manufacturers’ business operations,


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including prohibitions and restrictions on the advertising and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. Among these are prohibitions of outdoor and transit brand advertising, payments for product placement and free sampling (except in adult-only facilities). Restrictions are also placed on the use of brand name sponsorships and brand name non-tobacco products. The State Settlement Agreements also place prohibitions on targeting youth and the use of cartoon characters. In addition, the State Settlement Agreements require companies to affirm corporate principles directed at reducing underage use of cigarettes; impose requirements regarding lobbying activities; mandate public disclosure of certain industry documents; limit the industry’s ability to challenge certain tobacco control and underage use laws; and provide for the dissolution of certain tobacco-related organizations and place restrictions on the establishment of any replacement organizations.
In November 1998, USSTC entered into the Smokeless Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (the “STMSA”) with the attorneys general of various states and United States territories to resolve the remaining health care cost reimbursement cases initiated against USSTC. The STMSA required USSTC to adopt various marketing and advertising restrictions. USSTC is the only smokeless tobacco manufacturer to sign the STMSA.
Other Federal, State and Local Regulation and Activity
Federal, State and Local Regulation: A number of states and localities have enacted or proposed legislation that imposes restrictions on tobacco products (including innovative tobacco products, such as e-vapor products), such as legislation that (1) prohibits the sale of certain tobacco products with certain characterizing flavors, including menthol cigarettes, (2) requires the disclosure of health information separate from or in addition to federally-mandated health warnings and (3) restricts commercial speech or imposes additional restrictions on the marketing or sale of tobacco products (including proposals to ban all tobacco product sales). The legislation varies in terms of the type of tobacco products, the conditions under which such products are or would be restricted or prohibited, and exceptions to the restrictions or prohibitions. For example, a number of proposals involving characterizing flavors would prohibit smokeless tobacco products with characterizing flavors without providing an exception for mint- or wintergreen-flavored products.
Whether other states or localities will enact legislation in these areas, and the precise nature of such legislation if enacted, cannot be predicted. Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries have challenged and will continue to challenge certain state and local legislation, including through litigation.
State and Local Legislation to Increase the Legal Age to Purchase Tobacco Products: An increasing number of states and localities have proposed legislation to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products above the current federal minimum age of 18. The following states have enacted such legislation: Virginia (21), California (21), Hawaii (21), Alabama (19), Alaska (19), New Jersey (21), Utah (19), Oregon (21), Maine (21) and Massachusetts (21).  Many localities (including New York City (21) and Chicago (21)) have taken similar actions.
 
Virginia enacted legislation to increase the minimum age to purchase all tobacco products, including e-vapor products, to 21 in February 2019 and legislation is under consideration in various other states. Although an increase in the minimum age to purchase tobacco products may have a negative impact on sales volume of our tobacco businesses, as discussed above under Underage Access and Use of E-vapor Products, Altria supports raising the minimum legal age to purchase all tobacco products to 21 at the federal and state levels, reflecting its longstanding commitment to combat underage tobacco use.
Health Effects of Tobacco Product Consumption and Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (“ETS”): Reports with respect to the health effects of smoking have been publicized for many years, including various reports by the U.S. Surgeon General. Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries believe that the public should be guided by the messages of the U.S. Surgeon General and public health authorities worldwide in making decisions concerning the use of tobacco products.
Most jurisdictions within the United States have restricted smoking in public places. Some public health groups have called for, and various jurisdictions have adopted or proposed, bans on smoking in outdoor places, in private apartments and in cars transporting minors. It is not possible to predict the results of ongoing scientific research or the types of future scientific research into the health risks of tobacco exposure and the impact of such research on regulation.
Other Legislation or Governmental Initiatives: In addition to the actions discussed above, other regulatory initiatives affecting the tobacco industry have been adopted or are being considered at the federal level and in a number of state and local jurisdictions. For example, in recent years, legislation has been introduced or enacted at the state or local level to subject tobacco products to various reporting requirements and performance standards (such as reduced cigarette ignition propensity standards); establish educational campaigns relating to tobacco consumption or tobacco control programs, or provide additional funding for governmental tobacco control activities; restrict the sale of tobacco products in certain retail establishments and the sale of tobacco products in certain package sizes; require tax stamping of MST products; require the use of state tax stamps using data encryption technology; and further restrict the sale, marketing and advertising of cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products. Such legislation may be subject to constitutional or other challenges on various grounds, which may or may not be successful.
It is not possible to predict what, if any, additional legislation, regulation or other governmental action will be enacted or implemented (and, if challenged, upheld) relating to the manufacturing, design, packaging, marketing, advertising, sale or use of tobacco products, or the tobacco industry generally. It is possible, however, that legislation, regulation or other governmental action could be enacted or implemented that could have a material adverse impact on the business and volume of our tobacco subsidiaries and the consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries.


29


Governmental Investigations: From time to time, Altria and its subsidiaries are subject to governmental investigations on a range of matters. Altria and its subsidiaries cannot predict whether new investigations may be commenced.
Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products
Illicit trade in tobacco products can have an adverse impact on the businesses of Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries. Illicit trade can take many forms, including the sale of counterfeit tobacco products; the sale of tobacco products in the United States that are intended for sale outside the country; the sale of untaxed tobacco products over the Internet and by other means designed to avoid the collection of applicable taxes; and diversion into one taxing jurisdiction of tobacco products intended for sale in another. Counterfeit tobacco products, for example, are manufactured by unknown third parties in unregulated environments. Counterfeit versions of our tobacco subsidiaries’ products can negatively affect adult tobacco consumer experiences with and opinions of those brands. Illicit trade in tobacco products also harms law-abiding wholesalers and retailers by depriving them of lawful sales and undermines the significant investment Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries have made in legitimate distribution channels. Moreover, illicit trade in tobacco products results in federal, state and local governments losing tax revenues. Losses in tax revenues can cause such governments to take various actions, including increasing excise taxes; imposing legislative or regulatory requirements that may adversely impact Altria’s consolidated results of operations and cash flows and the businesses of its tobacco subsidiaries; or asserting claims against manufacturers of tobacco products or members of the trade channels through which such tobacco products are distributed and sold.
Altria and its tobacco subsidiaries devote resources to help prevent illicit trade in tobacco products and to protect legitimate trade channels. For example, Altria’s tobacco subsidiaries engage in a number of initiatives to help prevent illicit trade in tobacco products, including communication with wholesale and retail trade members regarding illicit trade in tobacco products and how they can help prevent such activities; enforcement of wholesale and retail trade programs and policies that address illicit trade in tobacco products and, when necessary, litigation to protect their trademarks.
Price, Availability and Quality of Tobacco, Other Raw Materials and Component Parts
Shifts in crops (such as those driven by economic conditions and adverse weather patterns), government mandated prices, economic trade sanctions, import duties and tariffs, geopolitical instability and production control programs may increase or decrease the cost or reduce the supply or quality of tobacco, other raw materials or component parts used to manufacture our companies’ products. Any significant change in the price, quality or availability of tobacco, other raw materials or component parts used to manufacture our products, could restrict our subsidiaries’ ability to continue marketing existing products or impact adult consumer product acceptability and adversely affect our subsidiaries’ profitability and businesses.
 
With respect to tobacco, as with other agriculture commodities, the price of tobacco leaf can be influenced by economic conditions and imbalances in supply and demand, and crop quality and availability can be influenced by variations in weather patterns, including those caused by climate change. Tobacco production in certain countries is subject to a variety of controls, including government mandated prices and production control programs.  Changes in the patterns of demand for agricultural products and the cost of tobacco production could impact tobacco leaf prices and tobacco supply. Certain types of tobacco are only available in limited geographies, including geographies experiencing political instability, and loss of their availability could impair our subsidiaries’ ability to continue marketing existing products or impact adult tobacco consumer product acceptability.
Timing of Sales
In the ordinary course of business, our tobacco subsidiaries are subject to many influences that can impact the timing of sales to customers, including the timing of holidays and other annual or special events, the timing of promotions, customer incentive programs and customer inventory programs, as well as the actual or speculated timing of pricing actions and tax-driven price increases.

Operating Results
The following table summarizes operating results for the smokeable and smokeless products segments:
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
Net Revenues
 
Operating Companies Income
(in millions)
2018

 
2017

 
2016

 
2018

 
2017

 
2016

Smokeable products
$
22,297

 
$
22,636

 
$
22,851

 
$
8,408

 
$
8,426

 
$
7,766

Smokeless products
2,262

 
2,155

 
2,051

 
1,431

 
1,306

 
1,172

Total smokeable and smokeless products
$
24,559

 
$
24,791

 
$
24,902

 
$
9,839

 
$
9,732

 
$
8,938



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Smokeable Products Segment
The following table summarizes the smokeable products segment shipment volume performance:
 
Shipment Volume
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
(sticks in millions)
2018

 
2017

 
2016

Cigarettes:
 
 
 
 
 
     Marlboro
94,770

 
99,974

 
105,297

     Other premium
5,552

 
5,967

 
6,382

     Discount
9,469

 
10,665

 
11,251

Total cigarettes
109,791

 
116,606

 
122,930

Cigars:
 
 
 
 
 
     Black & Mild
1,590

 
1,527

 
1,379

     Other
11

 
15

 
24

Total cigars
1,601

 
1,542

 
1,403

Total smokeable products
111,392

 
118,148

 
124,333

Cigarettes shipment volume includes Marlboro; Other premium brands, such as Virginia Slims, Parliament and Benson & Hedges; and Discount brands, which include L&M and Basic. Cigarettes volume includes units sold as well as promotional units, but excludes units sold for distribution to Puerto Rico, and units sold in U.S. Territories, to overseas military and by Philip Morris Duty Free Inc., none of which, individually or in the aggregate, is material to the smokeable products segment.
The following table summarizes cigarettes retail share performance:
 
Retail Share
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
2018

 
2017

 
2016

Cigarettes:
 
 
 
 
 
     Marlboro
43.1
%
 
43.4
%
 
43.8
%
     Other premium
2.6

 
2.7

 
2.8

     Discount
4.4

 
4.6

 
4.6

Total cigarettes
50.1
%
 
50.7
%
 
51.2
%
Retail share results for cigarettes are based on data from IRI/Management Science Associate Inc., a tracking service that uses a sample of stores and certain wholesale shipments to project market share and depict share trends. This service tracks sales in the food, drug, mass merchandisers, convenience, military, dollar store and club trade classes. For other trade classes selling cigarettes, retail share is based on shipments from wholesalers to retailers through the Store Tracking Analytical Reporting System (“STARS”). This service is not designed to capture sales through other channels, including the internet, direct mail and some illicitly tax-advantaged outlets. It is IRI’s standard practice to periodically refresh its services, which could restate retail share results that were previously released in this service.
For a discussion of volume trends and factors that impact volume and retail share performance, see Tobacco Space - Business Environment above.
PM USA and Middleton executed the following pricing and promotional allowance actions during 2018, 2017 and 2016:
 
Effective February 24, 2019, PM USA increased the list price on Marlboro and L&M by $0.11 per pack and Parliament and Virginia Slims by $0.16 per pack. In addition, PM USA increased the list price on all of its other cigarette brands by $0.31 per pack.
Effective September 23, 2018, PM USA increased the list price on Marlboro and L&M by $0.10 per pack and Parliament and Virginia Slims by $0.15 per pack. In addition, PM USA increased the list price on all of its other cigarette brands by $0.50 per pack.
Effective May 6, 2018, Middleton increased various list prices across substantially all of its cigar brands resulting in a weighted-average increase of approximately $0.11 per five-pack.
Effective March 25, 2018, PM USA increased the list price on all of its cigarette brands by $0.09 per pack.
Effective September 24, 2017, PM USA increased the list price on all of its cigarette brands by $0.10 per pack.
Effective May 21, 2017, Middleton increased various list prices across substantially all of its cigar brands resulting in a weighted-average increase of approximately $0.10 per five-pack.
Effective March 19, 2017, PM USA increased the list price on Parliament by $0.12 per pack.  In addition, PM USA increased the list price on all of its other cigarette brands by $0.08 per pack.
Effective November 13, 2016, PM USA reduced its wholesale promotional allowance on Marlboro by $0.02 per pack and L&M by $0.08 per pack.  In addition, PM USA increased the list price on Marlboro by $0.06 per pack and on all of its other cigarette brands by $0.08 per pack, except for L&M, which had no list price change.
Effective May 15, 2016, PM USA increased the list price on all of its cigarette brands by $0.07 per pack.
2018 Compared with 2017
Net revenues, which include excise taxes billed to customers, decreased $339 million (1.5%), due primarily to lower shipment volume ($1,438 million), partially offset by higher pricing ($1,104 million), which includes lower promotional investments.
Operating companies income was essentially unchanged as lower shipment volume ($779 million), higher costs ($343 million, which includes investments in strategic initiatives, higher asset impairment, exit and implementation costs and higher tobacco and health litigation items) and higher per unit settlement charges, were offset by higher pricing ($1,092 million), which includes lower promotional investments, and higher NPM Adjustment Items ($140 million).
Marketing, administration and research costs for the smokeable products segment include PM USA’s cost of administering and litigating product liability claims. Litigation defense costs are influenced by a number of factors, including the number and types of cases filed, the number of cases tried annually, the results of trials and appeals, the development of the


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law controlling relevant legal issues, and litigation strategy and tactics. For further discussion on these matters, see Note 19 and Item 3. For the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, product liability defense costs for PM USA were $179 million, $179 million and $234 million, respectively. The factors that have influenced past product liability defense costs are expected to continue to influence future costs. PM USA does not expect future product liability defense costs to be significantly different from product liability defense costs incurred in the last few years.
The smokeable products segment’s reported domestic cigarettes shipment volume decreased 5.8%, driven primarily by the industry’s rate of decline, retail share losses and trade inventory movements, partially offset by one extra shipping day. When adjusted for trade inventory movements and one extra shipping day, the smokeable products segment’s domestic cigarettes shipment volume decreased an estimated 5.5%. Total domestic cigarette industry volumes declined by an estimated 4.5%.
Shipments of premium cigarettes accounted for 91.4% of smokeable products’ reported domestic cigarettes shipment volume for 2018, versus 90.9% for 2017.    
PM USA stabilized Marlboro retail share in 2018 at a full-year share of 43.1 share points, unchanged compared to Marlboro’s share in the fourth quarter of 2017.
2017 Compared with 2016
Net revenues, which include excise taxes billed to customers, decreased $215 million (0.9%), due primarily to lower shipment volume ($1,273 million), partially offset by higher pricing, which includes higher promotional investments.
Operating companies income increased $660 million (8.5%), due primarily to higher pricing ($1,023 million), which includes higher promotional investments, lower marketing, administration and research costs ($261 million, which includes 2016 state excise tax ballot initiative spending and lower product liability defense costs), lower asset impairment and exit costs ($97 million) and lower manufacturing costs. These factors were partially offset by lower shipment volume ($691 million) and higher per unit settlement charges.
The smokeable products segment’s reported domestic cigarettes shipment volume decreased 5.1%, driven primarily by the industry’s rate of decline, retail share declines and one fewer shipping day. When adjusted for calendar differences, the smokeable products segment’s domestic cigarettes shipment volume decreased an estimated 5%. Total domestic cigarette industry volumes declined by an estimated 4%.
Shipments of premium cigarettes accounted for 90.9% of smokeable products’ reported domestic cigarettes shipment volume for 2017, versus 90.8% for 2016.
Marlboro’s retail share declined 0.4 share points, driven primarily by competitive activity and the effect of the cigarette excise tax increase in California.
 
Smokeless Products Segment
The following table summarizes smokeless products segment shipment volume performance:
 
Shipment Volume
For the Years Ended December 31,
(cans and packs in millions)
2018

 
2017

 
2016

Copenhagen
531.7

 
531.6

 
525.1

Skoal
231.1

 
241.9

 
260.9

Copenhagen and Skoal
762.8

 
773.5

 
786.0

Other
69.8

 
67.8

 
67.5

Total smokeless products
832.6

 
841.3

 
853.5

Smokeless products shipment volume includes cans and packs sold, as well as promotional units, but excludes international volume, which is not material to the smokeless products segment. New types of smokeless products, as well as new packaging configurations of existing smokeless products, may or may not be equivalent to existing MST products on a can-for-can basis. To calculate volumes of cans and packs shipped, one pack of snus, irrespective of the number of pouches in the pack, is assumed to be equivalent to one can of MST.
The following table summarizes smokeless products segment retail share performance (excluding international volume):
 
Retail Share
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
2018

 
2017

 
2016

Copenhagen
34.4
%
 
34.0
%
 
33.5
%
Skoal
16.2

 
16.7

 
18.2

Copenhagen and Skoal
50.6

 
50.7

 
51.7

Other
3.4

 
3.3

 
3.3

Total smokeless products
54.0
%
 
54.0
%
 
55.0
%
Retail share results for smokeless products are based on data from IRI InfoScan, a tracking service that uses a sample of stores to project market share and depict share trends.  This service tracks sales in the food, drug, mass merchandisers, convenience, military, dollar store and club trade classes on the number of cans and packs sold.  Smokeless products is defined by IRI as moist smokeless and spit-free tobacco products. New types of smokeless products, as well as new packaging configurations of existing smokeless products, may or may not be equivalent to existing MST products on a can-for-can basis. For example, one pack of snus, irrespective of the number of pouches in the pack, is assumed to be equivalent to one can of MST. Because this service represents retail share performance only in key trade channels, it should not be considered a precise measurement of actual retail share.  It is IRI’s standard practice to periodically refresh its InfoScan services, which could restate retail share results that were previously released in this service.
For a discussion of volume trends and factors that impact volume and retail share performance, see Tobacco Space - Business Environment above.
USSTC executed the following pricing actions during 2018, 2017 and 2016:
Effective November 20, 2018, USSTC increased the list price on its Skoal X-TRA products and select Copenhagen


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products by $0.17 per can. USSTC also increased the list price on its Husky brand and on the balance of its Copenhagen and Skoal products by $0.07 per can. In addition, USSTC decreased the price on its Red Seal brand by $0.08 per can.
Effective June 5, 2018, USSTC increased the list price on all its brands by $0.07 per can.
Effective September 26, 2017, USSTC increased the list price on Copenhagen and Skoal popular price products by $0.12 per can. In addition, USSTC increased the list price on all its brands, except for Copenhagen and Skoal popular price products, by $0.07 per can.
Effective April 25, 2017, USSTC increased the list price on all its brands by $0.07 per can.
Effective December 6, 2016, USSTC increased the list price on Copenhagen and Skoal popular price products by $0.12 per can. In addition, USSTC increased the list price on all its brands, except for Copenhagen and Skoal popular price products, by $0.07 per can.
Effective May 10, 2016, USSTC increased the list price on all its brands by $0.07 per can.
2018 Compared with 2017
Net revenues, which include excise taxes billed to customers, increased $107 million (5.0%), due primarily to higher pricing ($138 million), which includes lower promotional investments, partially offset by lower shipment volume.
Operating companies income increased $125 million (9.6%), due primarily to higher pricing ($138 million), which includes lower promotional investments, and lower asset impairment, exit and implementation costs ($33 million), partially offset by lower shipment volume and higher costs (including investments in strategic investments).
The smokeless products segment’s reported domestic shipment volume decreased 1.0%, driven primarily by the industry’s rate of decline. When adjusted for trade inventory movements and calendar differences, the smokeless products segment’s domestic shipment volume declined an estimated 1%.
The smokeless products category volume declined an estimated 1.5% over the six months ended December 31, 2018.
2017 Compared with 2016
Net revenues, which include excise taxes billed to customers, increased $104 million (5.1%), due primarily to higher pricing ($168 million), which includes lower promotional investments, partially offset by unfavorable mix and lower shipment volume ($24 million).
Operating companies income increased $134 million (11.4%), due primarily to higher pricing ($168 million), which includes lower promotional investments, and lower manufacturing costs, partially offset by unfavorable mix and lower shipment volume ($18 million).
The smokeless products segment’s reported domestic shipment volume decreased 1.4%, driven primarily by declines in Skoal. After adjusting for trade inventory movements and other factors, the smokeless products segment’s domestic shipment
 
volume declined an estimated 2%. The estimated smokeless products category volume was essentially unchanged over the six months ended December 31, 2017.

 
Wine Segment
Business Environment
Ste. Michelle is a leading producer of Washington state wines, primarily Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest and 14 Hands, and owns wineries in or distributes wines from several other domestic and foreign wine regions. Ste. Michelle holds an 85% ownership interest in Michelle-Antinori, LLC, which owns Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley. Ste. Michelle also owns Conn Creek in Napa Valley, Patz & Hall in Sonoma and Erath in Oregon. In addition, Ste. Michelle imports and markets Antinori, Torres and Villa Maria Estate wines and Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte in the United States. Key elements of Ste. Michelle’s strategy are expanded domestic distribution of its wines, especially in certain account categories such as restaurants, wholesale clubs, supermarkets, wine shops and mass merchandisers, and a focus on improving product mix to higher-priced, premium products.
Ste. Michelle’s business is subject to significant competition, including competition from many larger, well-established domestic and international companies, as well as from many smaller wine producers. Wine segment competition is primarily based on quality, price, consumer and trade wine tastings, competitive wine judging, third-party acclaim and advertising. Substantially all of Ste. Michelle’s sales occur in the United States through state-licensed distributors. Ste. Michelle also sells to domestic consumers through retail and e-commerce channels and exports wines to international distributors.
Federal, state and local governmental agencies regulate the beverage alcohol industry through various means, including licensing requirements, pricing rules, labeling and advertising restrictions, and distribution and production policies. Further regulatory restrictions or additional excise or other taxes on the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages may have an adverse effect on Ste. Michelle’s wine business.

Operating Results
The following table summarizes operating results for the wine segment:
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
(in millions)
2018

 
2017

 
2016

Net revenues
$
691

 
$
698

 
$
746

Operating companies income
$
50

 
$
146

 
$
164

2018 Compared with 2017
Net revenues, which include excise taxes billed to customers, decreased $7 million (1.0%), due primarily to lower shipment volume, partially offset by favorable premium mix.
Operating companies income decreased $96 million (65.8%), due primarily to the impairment of the Columbia Crest trademark ($54 million), higher costs and lower shipment volume, partially offset by favorable premium mix.


33


For 2018, Ste. Michelle’s reported wine shipment volume of 8,246 thousand cases decreased 3.3%.
2017 Compared with 2016
Net revenues, which include excise taxes billed to customers, decreased $48 million (6.4%), due primarily to lower shipment volume, partially offset by improved premium mix.
Operating companies income decreased $18 million (11.0%), due primarily to lower shipment volume.
For 2017, Ste. Michelle’s reported wine shipment volume of 8,530 thousand cases decreased 8.6%.
Financial Review
Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities
During 2018, net cash provided by operating activities was $8.4 billion compared with $4.9 billion during 2017. This increase was due primarily to lower payments of settlement charges and income taxes in 2018.
During 2017, net cash provided by operating activities was $4.9 billion compared with $3.8 billion during 2016. This increase was due primarily to the following:
income taxes paid on both the cash proceeds from the AB InBev Transaction and gains from exercising derivative financial instruments associated with the AB InBev Transaction in 2016;
higher operating companies income in the smokeable and smokeless products segments;
lower contributions to Altria’s pension and postretirement plans in 2017; and
lower payments for tobacco and health litigation items in 2017;
partially offset by:
higher payments of settlement charges in 2017.
Altria had a working capital deficit at December 31, 2018 and 2017. Altria’s management believes that Altria has the ability to fund working capital deficits with cash provided by operating activities and/or short-term borrowings under its commercial paper program and borrowings through its access to credit and capital markets.
At December 31, 2018, Altria’s working capital deficit included approximately $13.9 billion of debt coming due by December 31, 2019. In addition, Altria has an additional $1.0 billion of debt coming due by January 31, 2020. As discussed in the Debt and Liquidity - Debt section below, in February 2019, Altria repaid all the outstanding $12.8 billion of short-term borrowings under the Term Loan Agreement (defined below) with proceeds from the issuance of long-term senior unsecured notes.
Net Cash Provided by/Used in Investing Activities
During 2018, net cash used in investing activities was $13.0 billion compared with $0.5 billion during 2017. This increase was due primarily to Altria’s $12.8 billion investment in JUUL in 2018.
 
During 2017, net cash used in investing activities was $0.5 billion compared with net cash provided by investing activities of $3.7 billion during 2016. This change was due primarily to the following:
proceeds of $4.8 billion from the AB InBev Transaction during 2016;
proceeds of $0.5 billion from exercising derivative financial instruments associated with the AB InBev Transaction during 2016; and
higher acquisitions of businesses and assets in 2017;
partially offset by:
payment of approximately $1.6 billion for the purchase of ordinary shares of AB InBev during 2016.
Capital expenditures for 2018 increased 19.6% to $238 million, due primarily to spending related to manufacturing. Capital expenditures for 2019 are expected to be in the range of $225 million to $275 million, and are expected to be funded from operating cash flows.
Net Cash Used in Financing Activities
During 2018, net cash provided by financing activities was $4.7 billion compared with net cash used in financing activities of $7.8 billion during 2017. This change was due primarily to the following:
$12.8 billion of short-term borrowings used to finance Altria’s investment in JUUL in 2018; and
lower repurchases of common stock during 2018;
partially offset by:
higher dividends paid during 2018; and
$0.9 billion repayment of Altria senior unsecured notes at scheduled maturity in 2018.
During 2017, net cash used in financing activities was $7.8 billion compared with $5.3 billion during 2016. This increase was due to the following:
debt issuance of $2.0 billion of senior unsecured notes during 2016 used in part to repurchase senior unsecured notes in connection with the 2016 debt tender offer;
higher repurchases of common stock during 2017; and
higher dividends paid during 2017;
partially offset by:
debt repayments of $0.9 billion and premiums and fees of $0.8 billion in connection with the debt tender offer during 2016.
Debt and Liquidity
Credit Ratings - Altria’s cost and terms of financing and its access to commercial paper markets may be impacted by applicable credit ratings. The impact of credit ratings on the cost of borrowings under Altria’s credit agreement is discussed in Note 9.


34


See the discussion in Item 1A regarding the potential adverse impact of certain events on Altria’s credit ratings.
At December 31, 2018, the credit ratings and outlook for Altria’s indebtedness by major credit rating agencies were:
 
Short-term
Debt
 
Long-term
Debt
 
Outlook
Moody’s Investor Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”)
P-2
 
A3
 
Negative(1)
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (“Standard & Poor’s”)
A-2(2)
 
BBB(2)
 
Stable
Fitch Ratings Ltd. (“Fitch”)
F2
 
BBB(3)
 
Stable
(1) On December 20, 2018, Moody’s lowered the outlook for Altria to Negative from Stable.
(2) On December 20, 2018, Standard & Poor’s lowered the short-term debt credit rating for Altria to A-2 from A-1 and lowered the long-term debt credit rating for Altria to BBB from A-.
(3) On December 20, 2018, Fitch lowered the long-term debt credit rating for Altria to BBB from A- .
Credit Lines - From time to time, Altria has short-term borrowing needs to meet its working capital requirements and generally uses its commercial paper program to meet those needs. At December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, Altria had no short-term borrowings under its commercial paper program.
On December 20, 2018, Altria entered into a senior unsecured term loan agreement (the “Term Loan Agreement”) in connection with its investments in JUUL and Cronos. At December 31, 2018, Altria had aggregate short-term borrowings under the Term Loan Agreement of $12.8 billion. Borrowings under the Term Loan Agreement were set to mature on December 19, 2019. In February 2019, Altria repaid all of the outstanding $12.8 billion of short-term borrowings under the Term Loan Agreement with net proceeds from the issuance of long-term senior unsecured notes. Upon such repayment, the Term Loan Agreement terminated in accordance with its terms. For further discussion, see the Debt section below.
On August 1, 2018, Altria entered into a senior unsecured 5-year revolving credit agreement, which is used for general corporate purposes that was subsequently amended on January 25, 2019 to include certain covenants that become effective upon the completion of Altria’s pending investment in Cronos (as amended, the “Credit Agreement”). At December 31, 2018 and 2017, Altria had no borrowings under the Credit Agreement. At December 31, 2018, credit available to Altria under the Credit Agreement was $3.0 billion.
At December 31, 2018, Altria was in compliance with its covenants associated with the Term Loan Agreement and Credit Agreement. Altria expects to continue to meet its covenants associated with the Credit Agreement. For further discussion, see Note 9.
Any commercial paper issued by Altria and borrowings under the Credit Agreement are guaranteed by PM USA as further discussed in Note 20. Condensed Consolidating Financial Information to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 20”).
Financial Market Environment - Altria believes it has adequate liquidity and access to financial resources to meet its
 
anticipated obligations and ongoing business needs in the foreseeable future. Altria monitors the credit quality of its bank group and is not aware of any potential non-performing credit provider in that group. Altria believes the lenders in its bank group will be willing and able to advance funds in accordance with their legal obligations. See Item 1A for certain risk factors associated with the foregoing discussion.
Investment in AB InBev - In October 2018, AB InBev announced a 50% rebase in the dividends it pays to its shareholders, which results in a reduction of cash dividends Altria receives from AB InBev. Altria does not expect the reduction to have a material impact on its consolidated financial position, liquidity or earnings. See Item 1A for a discussion of risks associated with the dividends paid by AB InBev on shares owned by Altria.
Debt - At December 31, 2018 and 2017, Altria’s total debt was $25.7 billion and $13.9 billion, respectively. The increase in debt was due primarily to $12.8 billion of short-term borrowings under the Term Loan Agreement incurred in connection with the investment in JUUL, partially offset by a repayment of $0.9 billion of debt at scheduled maturity in 2018.
The interest rate on Altria’s short-term borrowings, which is variable rate debt, was approximately 3.5% at December 31, 2018. Altria had no short-term borrowings at December 31, 2017.
All of Altria’s long-term debt outstanding at December 31, 2018 and 2017 was fixed-rate debt. The weighted-average coupon interest rate on total long-term debt was approximately 4.6% and 4.9% at December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively.
In February 2019, Altria issued U.S. dollar denominated and Euro denominated long-term senior unsecured notes in the aggregate principal amounts of $11.5 billion and €4.25 billion, respectively (collectively, the “Notes”). Altria immediately converted the proceeds of the Euro denominated notes into U.S. dollars of $4.8 billion. The net proceeds from the Euro notes and a portion of the net proceeds from the U.S. dollar notes were used to repay in full the $12.8 billion of short-term borrowings under the Term Loan Agreement. The remaining net proceeds from the U.S. dollar notes are expected to be used to finance Altria’s investment in Cronos and for other general corporate purposes. The obligations of Altria under the Notes are fully and unconditionally guaranteed by PM USA. The Notes contain the following terms:
U.S. dollar denominated notes
$1.0 billion at 3.490%, due 2022, interest payable semiannually beginning August 14, 2019;
$1.0 billion at 3.800%, due 2024, interest payable semiannually beginning August 14, 2019;
$1.5 billion at 4.400%, due 2026, interest payable semiannually beginning August 14, 2019;
$3.0 billion at 4.800%, due 2029, interest payable semiannually beginning August 14, 2019;
$2.0 billion at 5.800%, due 2039, interest payable semiannually beginning August 14, 2019;


35


$2.5 billion at 5.950%, due 2049, interest payable semiannually beginning August 14, 2019; and
$0.5 billion at 6.200%, due 2059, interest payable semiannually beginning August 14, 2019.
Euro denominated notes
€1.25 billion at 1.000%, due 2023, interest payable annually beginning February 15, 2020;
€0.75 billion at 1.700%, due 2025, interest payable annually beginning June 15, 2020;
€1.0 billion at 2.200%, due 2027, interest payable annually beginning June 15, 2020; and
 
€1.25 billion at 3.125%, due 2031, interest payable annually beginning June 15, 2020.
The other terms of the Notes are similar to Altria’s other senior unsecured notes, as discussed in Note 10.
Altria designated its Euro denominated notes as a net investment hedge of its investment in AB InBev.
For further details on short-term borrowings and long-term debt, see Note 9 and Note 10, respectively.
In October 2017, Altria filed a registration statement on Form S-3 with the SEC, under which Altria may offer debt securities or warrants to purchase debt securities from time to time over a three-year period from the date of filing.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements and Aggregate Contractual Obligations
Altria has no off-balance sheet arrangements, including special purpose entities, other than guarantees and contractual obligations that are discussed below.
Guarantees and Other Similar Matters - As discussed in Note 19, Altria and certain of its subsidiaries had unused letters of credit obtained in the ordinary course of business, guarantees (including third-party guarantees) and a redeemable noncontrolling interest outstanding at December 31, 2018. From time to time, subsidiaries of Altria also issue lines of credit to affiliated entities. In addition, as discussed in Note 20, PM USA has issued guarantees relating to Altria’s obligations under its outstanding debt securities, borrowings under its Credit Agreement and amounts outstanding under its commercial paper program. These items have not had, and are not expected to have, a significant impact on Altria’s liquidity. For further discussion regarding Altria’s liquidity, see the Debt and Liquidity section above.
Aggregate Contractual Obligations - The following table summarizes Altria’s contractual obligations at December 31, 2018:
 
Payments Due
(in millions)
Total

 
2019

 
2020 - 2021

 
2022 - 2023

 
2024 and Thereafter

Long-term debt (1)
$
13,153

 
$
1,144

 
$
2,500

 
$
2,250

 
$
7,259

Interest on borrowings (2)
7,710

 
610

 
933

 
753

 
5,414

Operating leases (3)
182

 
41

 
66

 
41

 
34

Purchase obligations: (4)

 

 

 

 

Inventory and production costs
3,896

 
940

 
1,232

 
573

 
1,151

Other
1,027

 
614

 
254

 
159

 

 
4,923

 
1,554

 
1,486

 
732

 
1,151

Other long-term liabilities (5)
1,848

 
74

 
149

 
230

 
1,395

 
$
27,816

 
$
3,423

 
$
5,134

 
$
4,006

 
$
15,253

(1) Amounts represent the expected cash payments of Altria’s long-term debt.
(2) Amounts represent the expected cash payments of Altria’s interest expense on its long-term debt. Interest on Altria’s long-term debt, which was all fixed-rate debt at December 31, 2018, is presented using the stated coupon interest rate. Amounts exclude the amortization of debt discounts and debt issuance costs, the amortization of loan fees and fees for lines of credit that would be included in interest and other debt expense, net in the consolidated statements of earnings.
(3) Amounts represent the minimum rental commitments under non-cancelable operating leases.
(4) Purchase obligations for inventory and production costs (such as raw materials, indirect materials and services, contract manufacturing, packaging, storage and distribution) are commitments for projected needs to be used in the normal course of business. Other purchase obligations include commitments for marketing, capital expenditures, information technology and professional services. Arrangements are considered purchase obligations if a contract specifies all significant terms, including fixed or minimum quantities to be purchased, a pricing structure and approximate timing of the transaction. Most arrangements are cancelable without a significant penalty, and with short notice (usually 30 days). Any amounts reflected on the consolidated balance sheet as accounts payable and accrued liabilities are excluded from the table above.
(5) Other long-term liabilities consist of accrued postretirement health care costs and certain accrued pension costs. The amounts included in the table above for accrued pension costs consist of the actuarially determined anticipated minimum funding requirements for each year from 2019 through 2023. Contributions beyond 2023 cannot be reasonably estimated and, therefore, are not included in the table above. In addition, the following long-term liabilities included on the consolidated balance sheet are excluded from the table above: accrued postemployment costs, income taxes and tax contingencies, and other accruals. Altria is unable to estimate the timing of payments for these items.
The State Settlement Agreements and related legal fee payments, and payments for FDA user fees, as discussed below
 
and in Note 19, are excluded from the table above, as the payments are subject to adjustment for several factors, including


36


inflation, operating income, market share and industry volume. Litigation escrow deposits, as discussed below and in Note 19, are also excluded from the table above since these deposits will be returned to PM USA should it prevail on appeal.
Payments Under State Settlement Agreements and FDA Regulation - As discussed previously and in Note 19, PM USA and Nat Sherman have entered into State Settlement Agreements with the states and territories of the United States that call for certain payments. In addition, PM USA, Middleton, Nat Sherman and USSTC are subject to quarterly user fees imposed by the FDA as a result of the FSPTCA. Altria’s subsidiaries recorded approximately $4.5 billion, $4.7 billion and $4.9 billion of charges to cost of sales for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively, in connection with the State Settlement Agreements and FDA user fees. For further discussion of the resolutions of certain disputes with states and territories related to the NPM Adjustment provision under the MSA, see Health Care Cost Recovery Litigation - NPM Adjustment Disputes in Note 19.
Based on current agreements, 2018 market share and estimated annual industry volume decline rates, the estimated amounts that Altria’s subsidiaries may charge to cost of sales for payments related to State Settlement Agreements and FDA user fees approximate $4.7 billion in 2019 and 2020 and $4.6 billion each year thereafter. These amounts exclude the potential impact of the NPM Adjustment provision applicable under the MSA and the revised NPM Adjustment provisions applicable under the resolutions of the NPM Adjustment disputes.
The estimated amounts due under the State Settlement Agreements charged to cost of sales in each year would generally be paid in the following year. The amounts charged to cost of sales for FDA user fees are generally paid in the quarter in which the fees are incurred. As previously stated, the payments due under the terms of the State Settlement Agreements and FDA user fees are subject to adjustment for several factors, including volume, operating income, inflation and certain contingent events and, in general, are allocated based on each manufacturer’s market share. The future payment amounts discussed above are estimates, and actual payment amounts will differ to the extent underlying assumptions differ from actual future results.
Litigation-Related Deposits and Payments - With respect to certain adverse verdicts currently on appeal, to obtain stays of judgments pending appeals, as of December 31, 2018, PM USA had posted appeal bonds totaling approximately $100 million, which have been collateralized with restricted cash that are included in assets on the consolidated balance sheet.
Although litigation is subject to uncertainty and an adverse outcome or settlement of litigation could have a material adverse effect on the financial position, cash flows or results of operations of PM USA, UST or Altria in a particular fiscal quarter or fiscal year, as more fully disclosed in Note 19, Item 3 and Item 1A, management expects cash flow from operations, together with Altria’s access to capital markets, to provide sufficient liquidity to meet ongoing business needs.
Equity and Dividends
As discussed in Note 12. Stock Plans to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8, during 2018 Altria granted an aggregate of
 
0.9 million restricted stock units and 0.2 million performance stock units to eligible employees.
At December 31, 2018, the number of shares to be issued upon vesting of restricted stock units and performance stock units was not significant.
Dividends paid in 2018 and 2017 were approximately $5.4 billion and $4.8 billion, respectively, an increase of 12.6%, reflecting a higher dividend rate, partially offset by fewer shares outstanding as a result of shares repurchased by Altria under its share repurchase programs.
During the first quarter of 2018, the Board of Directors approved a 6.1% increase in the quarterly dividend rate to $0.70 per share of Altria common stock versus the previous rate of $0.66 per share. During the third quarter of 2018, the Board of Directors approved an additional 14.3% increase in the quarterly dividend rate to $0.80 per share of Altria common stock, resulting in an overall quarterly dividend rate increase of 21.2% since the beginning of 2018. Altria expects to continue to maintain a dividend payout ratio target of approximately 80% of its adjusted diluted EPS. The current annualized dividend rate is $3.20 per share. Future dividend payments remain subject to the discretion of the Board of Directors.
For a discussion of Altria’s share repurchase programs, see Note 11. Capital Stock to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 and Part II, Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
New Accounting Guidance Not Yet Adopted
See Note 2 for a discussion of issued accounting guidance applicable to, but not yet adopted by, Altria.
Contingencies
See Note 19 and Item 3 for a discussion of contingencies.
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.
Interest Rates
At December 31, 2018 and 2017, the fair value of Altria’s long-term debt was $12.5 billion and $15.3 billion, respectively. The fair value of Altria’s long-term debt is subject to fluctuations resulting from changes in market interest rates. A 1% increase in market interest rates at December 31, 2018 and 2017 would decrease the fair value of Altria’s long-term debt by approximately $0.8 billion and $1.2 billion, respectively. A 1% decrease in market interest rates at December 31, 2018 and 2017 would increase the fair value of Altria’s long-term debt by approximately $0.9 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively.
Interest rates on borrowings under the Credit Agreement are expected to be based on the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) plus a percentage based on the higher of the ratings of Altria’s long-term senior unsecured debt from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. The applicable percentage based on Altria’s long-term senior unsecured debt ratings at December 31, 2018 for borrowings under the Credit Agreement was 1.0%. At December 31, 2018, Altria had no borrowings under the Credit Agreement.


37



Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.

Altria Group, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Balance Sheets
(in millions of dollars)
________________________
 
at December 31,
2018

 
2017

Assets
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents
$
1,333

 
$
1,253

Receivables
142

 
142

Inventories:
 
 
 
Leaf tobacco
940

 
941

Other raw materials
186

 
170

Work in process
647

 
560

Finished product
558

 
554

 
2,331

 
2,225

Income taxes
167

 
461

Other current assets
326

 
263

Total current assets
4,299

 
4,344

 
 
 
 
Property, plant and equipment, at cost:
 
 
 
Land and land improvements
309

 
302

Buildings and building equipment
1,442

 
1,437

Machinery and equipment
2,981

 
2,975

Construction in progress
218

 
165

 
4,950

 
4,879

Less accumulated depreciation
3,012

 
2,965

 
1,938

 
1,914

 
 
 
 
Goodwill
5,196

 
5,307

Other intangible assets, net
12,279

 
12,400

Investment in AB InBev
17,696

 
17,952

Investment in JUUL
12,800

 

Other assets
1,430

 
1,285

Total Assets
$
55,638

 
$
43,202


See notes to consolidated financial statements.


38


Altria Group, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Balance Sheets (Continued)
(in millions of dollars, except share and per share data)
____________________________________________

at December 31,
2018

 
2017

Liabilities
 
 
 
Short-term borrowings
$
12,704

 
$

Current portion of long-term debt
1,144

 
864

Accounts payable
399

 
374

Accrued liabilities:
 
 
 
Marketing
586

 
695

Employment costs
189

 
188

Settlement charges
3,454

 
2,442

Other
1,214

 
971

Dividends payable
1,503

 
1,258

Total current liabilities
21,193

 
6,792

 
 
 
 
Long-term debt
11,898

 
13,030

Deferred income taxes
5,172

 
5,247

Accrued pension costs
544

 
445

Accrued postretirement health care costs
1,749

 
1,987

Other liabilities
254

 
283

Total liabilities
40,810

 
27,784

Contingencies (Note 19)

 

Redeemable noncontrolling interest
39

 
38

Stockholders’ Equity
 
 
 
Common stock, par value $0.33 1/3 per share
(2,805,961,317 shares issued)
935

 
935

Additional paid-in capital
5,961

 
5,952

Earnings reinvested in the business
43,962

 
42,251

Accumulated other comprehensive losses
(2,547
)
 
(1,897
)
Cost of repurchased stock
(931,903,722 shares at December 31, 2018 and
904,702,125 shares at December 31, 2017)
(33,524
)
 
(31,864
)
Total stockholders’ equity attributable to Altria
14,787

 
15,377

Noncontrolling interests
2

 
3

Total stockholders’ equity
14,789

 
15,380

Total Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity
$
55,638

 
$
43,202

 
See notes to consolidated financial statements.



39


Altria Group, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Earnings
(in millions of dollars, except per share data)
____________________________________
 
for the years ended December 31,
2018

 
2017

 
2016

Net revenues
$
25,364

 
$
25,576

 
$
25,744

Cost of sales
7,373

 
7,531

 
7,765

Excise taxes on products
5,737

 
6,082

 
6,407

Gross profit
12,254

 
11,963

 
11,572

Marketing, administration and research costs
2,756

 
2,338

 
2,662

Asset impairment and exit costs
383

 
32

 
149

Operating income
9,115

 
9,593

 
8,761

Interest and other debt expense, net
665

 
705

 
747

Loss on early extinguishment of debt

 

 
823

Net periodic benefit (income) cost, excluding service cost
(34
)
 
37

 
(1
)
Earnings from equity investment in AB InBev/SABMiller
(890
)
 
(532
)
 
(795
)
Loss (gain) on AB InBev/SABMiller business combination
33

 
(445
)
 
(13,865
)
Earnings before income taxes
9,341

 
9,828

 
21,852

Provision (benefit) for income taxes
2,374

 
(399
)
 
7,608

Net earnings
6,967

 
10,227

 
14,244

Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests
(4
)
 
(5
)
 
(5
)
Net earnings attributable to Altria
$
6,963

 
$
10,222

 
$
14,239

Per share data:
 
 
 
 
 
Basic earnings per share attributable to Altria
$
3.69

 
$
5.31

 
$
7.28

Diluted earnings per share attributable to Altria
$
3.68

 
$
5.31

 
$
7.28


See notes to consolidated financial statements.



40


Altria Group, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Earnings
(in millions of dollars)
_______________________

for the years ended December 31,
 
2018

 
2017

 
2016

Net earnings
 
$
6,967

 
$
10,227

 
$
14,244

Other comprehensive earnings (losses), net of deferred income taxes:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Benefit plans
 
68

 
209

 
(38
)
AB InBev/SABMiller
 
(309
)
 
(54
)
 
1,265

Currency translation adjustments and other
 
(1
)
 

 
1

Other comprehensive (losses) earnings, net of deferred income taxes
 
(242
)
 
155

 
1,228

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Comprehensive earnings
 
6,725

 
10,382

 
15,472

Comprehensive earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests
 
(4
)
 
(5
)
 
(5
)
Comprehensive earnings attributable to Altria
 
$
6,721

 
$
10,377

 
$
15,467


See notes to consolidated financial statements.



41


Altria Group, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
(in millions of dollars)
__________________
 
for the years ended December 31,
2018

 
2017

 
2016

Cash Provided by (Used in) Operating Activities
 
 
 
 
 
Net earnings
$
6,967

 
$
10,227

 
$
14,244

Adjustments to reconcile net earnings to operating cash flows:
 
 
 
 
 
Depreciation and amortization
227

 
209

 
204

Deferred income tax (benefit) provision
(57
)
 
(3,126
)
 
3,119

Earnings from equity investment in AB InBev/SABMiller
(890
)
 
(532
)
 
(795
)
Loss (gain) on AB InBev/SABMiller business combination
33

 
(445
)
 
(13,865
)
Dividends from AB InBev/SABMiller
657

 
806

 
739

Asset impairment and exit costs, net of cash paid
354

 
(38
)
 
106

Loss on early extinguishment of debt

 

 
823

Cash effects of changes:
 
 
 
 
 
Receivables

 
10

 
(27
)
Inventories
(129
)
 
(171
)
 
(34
)
Accounts payable
27

 
(55
)
 
24

Income taxes
218

 
(294
)
 
(231
)
Accrued liabilities and other current assets
(21
)
 
(85
)
 
(113
)
Accrued settlement charges
980

 
(1,259
)
 
111

Pension and postretirement plans contributions
(41
)
 
(294
)
 
(531
)
Pension provisions and postretirement, net
(13
)
 
(11
)
 
(73
)
Other, net
79

 
(41
)
 
125

Net cash provided by operating activities
8,391

 
4,901

 
3,826

Cash Provided by (Used in) Investing Activities
 
 
 
 
 
Capital expenditures
(238
)
 
(199
)
 
(189
)
Acquisitions of businesses and assets
(15
)
 
(415
)
 
(45
)
Investment in JUUL
(12,800
)
 

 

Proceeds from finance assets
37

 
133

 
231

Proceeds from AB InBev/SABMiller business combination

 

 
4,773

Purchase of AB InBev ordinary shares

 

 
(1,578
)
Proceeds from derivative financial instruments
35

 

 
510

Other, net
(7
)
 
14

 
6

Net cash (used in) provided by investing activities
(12,988
)