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Section 1: 10-K (FORM 10-K)

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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, 2017
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
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 and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted 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 and post 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, 2017, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $143 billion based on the closing sale price of the common stock as reported on the New York Stock Exchange.
                          Class                           
 
Outstanding at February 13, 2018
 
Common Stock, $0.33  1/3 par value
1,900,449,362 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 17, 2018, to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on or about April 5, 2018, 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.
 
 
 





Table of Contents

Part I
Item 1. Business.
General Development of Business
General: Altria Group, Inc. is a holding company incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1985. At December 31, 2017, Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’s other operating companies included Nu Mark LLC (“Nu Mark”), a wholly-owned subsidiary that is engaged in the manufacture and sale of innovative tobacco products, and Philip Morris Capital Corporation (“PMCC”), a wholly-owned subsidiary that maintains a portfolio of finance assets, substantially all of which are leveraged leases. Other Altria Group, Inc. wholly-owned subsidiaries included Altria Group Distribution Company, which provides sales and distribution services to certain Altria Group, Inc. operating subsidiaries, and Altria Client Services LLC, which provides various support services in areas, such as legal, regulatory, consumer engagement, finance, human resources and external affairs to Altria Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
At September 30, 2016, Altria Group, Inc. had an approximate 27% ownership of SABMiller plc (“SABMiller”), which Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. received cash and shares representing a 9.6% ownership in the combined company (the “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 Group, Inc. purchased approximately 12 million ordinary shares of AB InBev, increasing Altria Group, Inc.’s ownership to approximately 10.2% at December 31, 2016. At December 31, 2017, Altria Group, Inc. had an approximate 10.2% ownership of AB InBev, which Altria Group, Inc. 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 Transaction, no earnings from Altria Group, Inc.’s equity investment in AB InBev were recorded for the year ended December 31, 2016. For further discussion, see Note 6. Investment in AB InBev/SABMiller to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Item 8”).
 
In January 2017, Altria Group, Inc. acquired Nat Sherman, which joined PM USA and Middleton as part of Altria Group, Inc.’s smokeable products segment.
Source of Funds: Because Altria Group, Inc. 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. At December 31, 2017, Altria Group, Inc.’s principal wholly-owned subsidiaries were not limited by long-term debt or other agreements in their ability to pay cash dividends or make other distributions with respect to their equity interests. In addition, Altria Group, Inc. receives cash dividends on its interest in AB InBev if and when AB InBev pays such dividends.     
Financial Information About Segments
Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’s innovative tobacco products businesses to Altria Group, Inc.’s consolidated results.
Altria Group, Inc.’s chief operating decision maker (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. Interest and other debt expense, net, and provision for income taxes are centrally managed at the corporate level and, accordingly, such items are not presented by segment since they are excluded from the measure of segment profitability reviewed by the CODM. Net revenues and operating companies income (together with a reconciliation to earnings before income taxes) attributable to each such segment for each of the last three years are set forth in Note 15. Segment Reporting to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 15”). Information about total assets by segment is not disclosed because such information is not reported to or used by the CODM. Segment goodwill and other intangible assets, net, are disclosed in Note 3. Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets, net to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 3”). The accounting policies of the segments are the same as those described in Note 2. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 2”).


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The relative percentages of operating companies income (loss) attributable to each reportable segment and the all other category were as follows:
 
2017

2016

2015

Smokeable products
85.8
 %
86.2
 %
87.4
 %
Smokeless products
13.2

13.1

12.8

Wine
1.5

1.8

1.8

All other
(0.5
)
(1.1
)
(2.0
)
Total
100.0
 %
100.0
 %
100.0
 %

For items affecting the comparability of the relative percentages of operating companies income (loss) attributable to each reportable segment, see Note 15.
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 Group, Inc.’s tobacco operating companies include PM USA, USSTC and other subsidiaries of UST, Middleton, Nu Mark and Nat Sherman. Altria Group Distribution Company provides sales and distribution services to Altria Group, Inc.’s tobacco operating companies.
The products of Altria Group, Inc.’s tobacco subsidiaries include smokeable tobacco products, consisting of 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 manufactured and sold by USSTC; and innovative tobacco products, including e-vapor products 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 116.6 billion units in 2017, a decrease of 5.1% from 2016.
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 1.5 billion units in 2017, an increase of 9.9% from 2016.
 
Smokeless tobacco products: USSTC is the leading producer and marketer of moist smokeless tobacco (“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 841.3 million units in 2017, a decrease of 1.4% from 2016.
Innovative tobacco products: Nu Mark participates in the e-vapor category and has developed and commercialized other innovative tobacco products. In addition, Nu Mark sources the production of its e-vapor products through overseas contract manufacturing arrangements. 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 (“Green Smoke”), which began selling e-vapor products in 2009. In 2017, Altria Group, Inc.’s subsidiaries purchased certain intellectual property related to innovative tobacco products.
In December 2013, Altria Group, Inc.’s subsidiaries entered into a series of agreements with Philip Morris International Inc. (“PMI”) pursuant to which Altria Group, Inc.’s subsidiaries provide an exclusive license to PMI to sell Nu Mark’s e-vapor products outside the United States, and PMI’s subsidiaries provide an exclusive license to Altria Group, Inc.’s subsidiaries to sell two of PMI’s heated tobacco product platforms in the United States. Further, in July 2015, Altria Group, Inc. announced the expansion of its strategic framework with PMI to include a joint research, development and technology-sharing agreement. Under this agreement, Altria Group, Inc.’s subsidiaries and PMI will collaborate to develop e-vapor products for commercialization in the United States by Altria Group, Inc.’s subsidiaries and in markets outside the United States by PMI. This agreement also provides for exclusive technology cross licenses, technical information sharing and cooperation on scientific assessment, regulatory engagement and approval related to e-vapor products.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, PMI submitted a Modified Risk Tobacco Product (“MRTP”) application for an electronically heated tobacco product with the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA”) Center for Tobacco Products and filed its corresponding pre-market tobacco product application in the first quarter of 2017. Upon regulatory authorization by the FDA, Altria Group, Inc.’s subsidiaries will have an exclusive license to sell this heated tobacco product in the United States.
Distribution, Competition and Raw Materials: Altria Group, Inc.’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.


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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, 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 Group, Inc.’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 Agricultural Products 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 2017 wine shipment volume of approximately 8.5 million cases decreased 8.6% from 2016.
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. For further information on PMCC’s finance assets, see Note 7. Finance Assets, net to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8.
Other Matters
Customers: The largest customer of PM USA, USSTC, Middleton and Nat Sherman, McLane Company, Inc., accounted for approximately 26%, 25% and 26% of Altria Group, Inc.’s consolidated net revenues for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively. In addition, Core-Mark Holding Company, Inc. accounted for approximately 14%, 14% and 10% of Altria Group, Inc.’s consolidated net revenues for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively. Substantially all of these net revenues were reported in the smokeable products and smokeless products segments.


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Sales to three distributors accounted for approximately 67%, 69% and 66% of net revenues for the wine segment for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Employees: At December 31, 2017, Altria Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries employed approximately 8,300 people.
Executive Officers of Altria Group, Inc.: The disclosure regarding executive officers is included in Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance - Executive Officers as of February 13, 2018 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Research and Development: Research and development expense for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 is set forth in Note 17. Additional Information to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8.
Intellectual Property: Trademarks are of material importance to Altria Group, Inc. and its operating companies, and are protected by registration or otherwise. In addition, as of December 31, 2017, the portfolio of approximately 800 United States patents owned by Altria Group, Inc.’s businesses, as a whole, was material to Altria Group, Inc. and its tobacco businesses. However, no one patent or group of related patents was material to Altria Group, Inc.’s business or its tobacco businesses as of December 31, 2017. Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc. and its tobacco and wine businesses.
Environmental Regulation: Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. are involved in several matters subjecting them to potential costs of remediation and natural resource damages under Superfund or other laws and regulations. Altria Group, Inc.’s subsidiaries expect to continue to make capital and other expenditures in connection with environmental laws and regulations. As discussed in Note 2, Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. may undertake in the future. In the opinion of management, however, compliance with environmental laws and regulations, including the payment of any remediation and compliance costs or damages and the making of
 
related expenditures, has not had, and is not expected to have, a material adverse effect on Altria Group, Inc.’s consolidated results of operations, capital expenditures, financial position or cash flows.
Financial Information About Geographic Areas
Substantially all of Altria Group, Inc.’s net revenues are from sales generated in the United States for each of the last three fiscal years and substantially all of Altria Group, Inc.’s long-lived assets are located in the United States.
Available Information
Altria Group, Inc. is required to file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Investors may read and copy any document that Altria Group, Inc. files, including this Annual Report on Form 10-K, at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20549. Investors may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. In addition, the SEC maintains an Internet site at http://www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC, from which investors can electronically access Altria Group, Inc.’s SEC filings.
Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. electronically files such material with, or furnishes it to, the SEC. Investors can access Altria Group, Inc.’s filings with the SEC by visiting www.altria.com/secfilings.
The information on the respective websites of Altria Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries is not, and shall not be deemed to be, a part of this report or incorporated into any other filings Altria Group, Inc. 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
_____________________________________________________
(1) This section uses the terms “we,” “our” and “us” when it is not necessary to distinguish among Altria Group, Inc. and its various operating subsidiaries or when any distinction is clear from the context.


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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 Group, Inc.’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 document, 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 Group, Inc., 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 against Altria Group, Inc. 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 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 Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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 18. Contingencies to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 18”), 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 Group, Inc., 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 Group, Inc. 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 18, the district court did not impose monetary penalties but ordered significant non-monetary remedies, including the issuance of “corrective statements” that Altria Group, Inc. and PM USA began making in various media in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc., 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 Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries may enter into


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settlement discussions in particular cases if they believe it is in the best interests of Altria Group, Inc. to do so. See Item 3. Legal Proceedings of this Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Item 3”), Note 18 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 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.
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), 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, a determination by the FDA that one or more tobacco products do not satisfy the statutory requirements for substantial equivalence, or because the FDA requires that a modification to a currently-marketed tobacco product proceed through the pre-market review process), 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 impact on the business, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc.’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 state, federal 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 Group, Inc.’s tobacco subsidiaries. For further discussion, see Tobacco Space - Business Environment - Excise Taxes in Item 7.
Our tobacco businesses face significant competition within their categories and their failure to compete effectively could have an adverse effect on the consolidated results of operations or cash flows of Altria Group, Inc., or the business of Altria Group, Inc.’s tobacco subsidiaries.
Each of Altria Group, Inc.’s tobacco subsidiaries operates in highly competitive tobacco categories. 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 Group, Inc.
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, have 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. In the cigar category, additional competition has resulted from increased imports of machine-made large cigars manufactured offshore.
Altria Group, Inc. 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.
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;


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anticipate and respond to new and evolving adult consumer preferences;
develop, manufacture, market and distribute 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 for additional discussion concerning evolving adult tobacco consumer preferences, including e-vapor products. Growth of this product category could contribute to reductions in cigarette consumption levels and cigarette industry sales volume and could adversely affect the growth rates of other tobacco products.
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 Group, Inc. 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 competitive conditions, PMCC may have to increase its allowance for losses, which would adversely affect our earnings.
Altria Group, Inc.’s tobacco subsidiaries 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 Group, Inc. 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. These efforts may include arrangements with, or
 
investments in, third parties. Our tobacco subsidiaries 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 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 may be at a competitive disadvantage.
Significant changes in tobacco leaf price, availability or quality could have an adverse effect on the profitability and business of Altria Group, Inc.’s tobacco subsidiaries.
Any significant change in tobacco leaf prices, quality or availability could adversely affect our tobacco subsidiaries’ profitability and business. For further discussion, see Tobacco Space - Business Environment - Price, Availability and Quality of Agricultural Products in Item 7.
Because Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc. and its tobacco subsidiaries.
Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’s tobacco subsidiaries or the operations of any key suppliers of any of Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc. and its tobacco subsidiaries.
Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries.


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In addition to a recall required by the FDA, as referenced above, our subsidiaries could decide, or 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. In January 2017, USSTC announced that it was voluntarily recalling certain of its smokeless tobacco products manufactured at a USSTC facility due to product tampering. USSTC recorded a charge during the first quarter of 2017 related to this recall. While this charge was not material to Altria Group, Inc.’s financial statements, future recalls (if any) could have a material adverse effect on the business, reputation, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc.’s credit rating, and Altria Group, Inc. may not achieve its anticipated strategic or financial objectives of a transaction.
From time to time, Altria Group, Inc. considers acquisitions and may engage in confidential acquisition 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 the occurrence of other events could negatively impact our credit ratings or the outlook for those 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.
Disruption and uncertainty in the debt capital markets could adversely affect Altria Group, Inc.’s access to the debt capital markets, earnings and dividend rate.
Access to the debt capital markets is important for us to satisfy our liquidity and financing needs. Disruption and uncertainty in the credit and debt capital 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 Group, Inc. may be required to write down intangible assets, including goodwill, due to impairment, which would reduce earnings.
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 will reduce our earnings.
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.
The failure of Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
Altria Group, Inc. 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,


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adult consumers and others. We continue to make investments in 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 Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
Unfavorable outcomes of any governmental investigations could materially affect the businesses of Altria Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
From time to time, Altria Group, Inc. 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.
Expanding international business operations subjects Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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 or third parties. Violations of these laws, or allegations of such violations, could result in reputational harm, legal challenges and/or significant costs.
Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc. may be adversely affected by unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates and other factors.
 
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. 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 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 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 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.
Our tax treatment of the Transaction consideration may be challenged and the tax treatment of AB InBev dividends may not be as favorable as Altria Group, Inc. anticipates.
While we expect the equity consideration that we received from the 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 the dividends Altria Group, Inc. expects to receive from AB InBev may not be as favorable as Altria Group, Inc. anticipates.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.
None.


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Item 2. Properties.
In 2017, Altria Client Services LLC purchased the previously leased property in Richmond, Virginia that serves as the headquarters facility for Altria Group, Inc., PM USA, USSTC, Middleton, Nu Mark and certain other subsidiaries.
At December 31, 2017, PM USA owned and operated a manufacturing site located in Richmond, Virginia (“Richmond Manufacturing Center”), that PM USA uses in the manufacturing of cigarettes. Portions of this facility are leased by Middleton and USSTC for use in the manufacturing of cigars and smokeless tobacco products, respectively.
At December 31, 2017, the smokeable products segment used five manufacturing and processing facilities, including the 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 the Richmond Manufacturing Center, operates two manufacturing and processing facilities - one, which it owns, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and one, which it leases, in Limerick, Pennsylvania, that are 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 an affiliate, Altria Client Services LLC.
At December 31, 2017, in addition to the Richmond Manufacturing Center, the smokeless products segment used five smokeless tobacco manufacturing and processing facilities located in Clarksville, Tennessee; Franklin Park, Illinois; Nashville, Tennessee; and two facilities in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, all of which are owned and operated by USSTC, with the exception of the facility leased by USSTC in Franklin Park, Illinois.
As disclosed in Note 4. Asset Impairment, Exit and Implementation Costs to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 4”), in October 2016, Altria Group, Inc. announced the consolidation of certain of its operating companies’ manufacturing facilities to streamline operations and achieve greater efficiencies. Middleton is in the process of transferring its Limerick, Pennsylvania operations to the Richmond Manufacturing Center. USSTC is in the process of transferring its Franklin Park, Illinois operations to its Nashville, Tennessee facility and the Richmond Manufacturing Center. The consolidation is expected to be substantially completed by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
At December 31, 2017, 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 Group, Inc. 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 18 and Exhibits 99.1 and 99.2 to this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Altria Group, Inc.’s consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes for the year ended December 31, 2017 were filed on Form 8-K on February 1, 2018 (such consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes are also included in Item 8). The following summarizes certain developments in Altria Group, Inc.’s litigation since the filing of the Form 8-K.
Recent Developments
Smoking and Health Litigation
Engle Progeny Trial Results:
In Gloger, in February 2018, a Miami-Dade County jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff and against PM USA and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (“R.J. Reynolds”) awarding $7.5 million in compensatory damages. The jury also awarded plaintiff $5 million in punitive damages against each defendant. PM USA posted a bond in the amount of $2.5 million. Defendants filed various post-trial motions, which remain pending, and appealed to the Florida Third District Court of Appeal.
In Wallace, in February 2018, PM USA filed an appeal to the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal and posted a bond in the amount of approximately $3 million.
In Allen, in February 2018, the Florida Supreme Court denied PM USA’s petition to invoke the court’s discretionary jurisdiction. PM USA will record a pre-tax provision of approximately $10 million for the judgment plus interest in the first quarter of 2018.
In Gore, in February 2018, the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment in favor of plaintiff, withdrew the comparative fault reduction for the compensatory damages award and granted plaintiff leave to seek a new trial on punitive damages. PM USA will record a pre-tax provision of approximately $1 million for the judgment plus interest in the first quarter of 2018.
In Bryant, in February 2018, the trial court denied all post-trial motions and entered final judgment in favor of plaintiff.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.
Not applicable.


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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 Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc. 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, 2012 and the reinvestment of all dividends on a quarterly basis.
394250671_chart-e00cabeae5f95158bdf.jpg
Date
 
Altria Group, Inc.
 
Altria Group, Inc. Peer Group
 
S&P 500
December 2012
 
$
100.00

 
$
100.00

 
$
100.00

December 2013
 
$
128.56

 
$
124.66

 
$
132.37

December 2014
 
$
172.93

 
$
139.49

 
$
150.48

December 2015
 
$
212.87

 
$
162.74

 
$
152.55

December 2016
 
$
256.43

 
$
177.01

 
$
170.78

December 2017
 
$
280.65

 
$
193.86

 
$
208.05

Source: Bloomberg - “Total Return Analysis” calculated on a daily basis and assumes reinvestment of dividends as of the ex-dividend date.
(1)In 2017, the Altria Group, Inc. Peer Group consisted of U.S.-headquartered consumer product companies that are competitors to Altria Group, Inc.’s tobacco 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, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, The Kraft Heinz Company, Mondelēz International, Inc., PepsiCo, Inc., Reynolds American Inc. and British American Tobacco p.l.c. headquartered in London, England.
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 2017, Altria Group, Inc. Peer Group total shareholder return calculation includes RAI through July 24, 2017 and BTI American Depository Receipts for the remainder of the year.


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Market and Dividend Information
The principal stock exchange on which Altria Group, Inc.’s common stock (par value $0.33 1/3 per share) is listed is the New York Stock Exchange. At February 13, 2018, there were approximately 64,000 holders of record of Altria Group, Inc.’s common stock.
The table below discloses the high and low sales prices and cash dividends declared per share for Altria Group, Inc.’s common stock as reported by the New York Stock Exchange.
 
Price Per Share
 
Cash Dividends Declared Per Share
 
High
 
Low
 
2017:
 
 
 
 
 
Fourth Quarter
$
74.38

 
$
62.32

 
$
0.66

Third Quarter
$
74.98

 
$
60.01

 
$
0.66

Second Quarter
$
77.79

 
$
69.79

 
$
0.61

First Quarter
$
76.55

 
$
67.25

 
$
0.61

2016:
 
 
 
 
 
Fourth Quarter
$
68.03

 
$
60.82

 
$
0.61

Third Quarter
$
70.15

 
$
62.46

 
$
0.61

Second Quarter
$
69.26

 
$
59.48

 
$
0.565

First Quarter
$
63.15

 
$
56.15

 
$
0.565

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities During the Quarter Ended December 31, 2017
In July 2015, Altria Group, Inc.’s Board of Directors (the “Board of Directors”) authorized a $1.0 billion share repurchase program that it expanded to $3.0 billion in October 2016 and to $4.0 billion in July 2017 (as expanded, the “July 2015 share repurchase program”). The July 2015 share repurchase program was completed in January 2018. In January 2018, the Board of Directors authorized a new $1.0 billion share repurchase program, which Altria Group, Inc. expects to complete by the end of 2018. 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 Group, Inc.’s share repurchase activity for each of the three months in the period ended December 31, 2017, 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, 2017
 
2,983,437

 
$
64.36

 
2,982,371

 
$
383,869,878

November 1- November 30, 2017
 
2,798,299

 
$
64.98

 
2,790,984

 
$
202,512,372

December 1- December 31, 2017
 
2,587,120

 
$
71.16

 
2,587,120

 
$
18,411,335

For the Quarter Ended December 31, 2017
 
8,368,856

 
$
66.67

 
8,360,475

 

(1) 
The total number of shares purchased includes (a) shares purchased under the July 2015 share repurchase program (which totaled 2,982,371 shares in October, 2,790,984 shares in November and 2,587,120 shares in December) and (b) shares withheld by Altria Group, Inc. in an amount equal to the statutory withholding taxes for holders who vested in stock-based awards (which totaled 1,066 shares in October and 7,315 shares in November).




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Item 6. Selected Financial Data.
(in millions of dollars, except per share and employee data)
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Summary of Operations:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net revenues
$
25,576

 
$
25,744

 
$
25,434

 
$
24,522

 
$
24,466

Cost of sales
7,543

 
7,746

 
7,740

 
7,785

 
7,206

Excise taxes on products
6,082

 
6,407

 
6,580

 
6,577

 
6,803

Operating income
9,556

 
8,762

 
8,361

 
7,620

 
8,084

Interest and other debt expense, net
705

 
747

 
817

 
808

 
1,049

Earnings from equity investment in AB InBev/SABMiller
532

 
795

 
757

 
1,006

 
991

Gain on AB InBev/SABMiller business combination
445

 
13,865

 
5

 

 

Earnings before income taxes (2)
9,828

 
21,852

 
8,078

 
7,774

 
6,942

Pre-tax profit margin (2)
38.4
%
 
84.9
%
 
31.8
%
 
31.7
%
 
28.4
%
(Benefit) provision for income taxes (1)(2)
(399
)
 
7,608

 
2,835

 
2,704

 
2,407

Net earnings (1)(2)
10,227

 
14,244

 
5,243

 
5,070

 
4,535

Net earnings attributable to Altria Group, Inc. (1)(2)
10,222

 
14,239

 
5,241

 
5,070

 
4,535

Basic and Diluted EPS — net earnings attributable to Altria Group, Inc. (1)(2)
5.31

 
7.28

 
2.67

 
2.56

 
2.26

Dividends declared per share
2.54

 
2.35

 
2.17

 
2.00

 
1.84

Weighted average shares (millions) — Basic and Diluted
1,921

 
1,952

 
1,961

 
1,978

 
1,999

Capital expenditures
199

 
189

 
229

 
163

 
131

Depreciation
188

 
183

 
204

 
188

 
192

Property, plant and equipment, net
1,914

 
1,958

 
1,982

 
1,983

 
2,028

Inventories
2,225

 
2,051

 
2,031

 
2,040

 
1,879

Total assets (2)
43,202

 
45,932

 
31,459

 
33,440

 
33,858

Long-term debt
13,030

 
13,881

 
12,843

 
13,610

 
13,907

Total debt
13,894

 
13,881

 
12,847

 
14,610

 
14,432

Total stockholders’ equity (1)(2)
15,380

 
12,773

 
2,873

 
3,010

 
4,118

Common dividends declared as a % of Basic and Diluted EPS (1)(2)
47.8
%
 
32.3
%
 
81.3
%
 
78.1
%
 
81.4
%
Book value per common share outstanding (1)(2)
8.09

 
6.57

 
1.47

 
1.53

 
2.07

Market price per common share — high/low
77.79-60.01

 
70.15-56.15

 
61.74-47.31

 
51.67-33.80

 
38.58-31.85

Closing price per common share at year end
71.41

 
67.62

 
58.21

 
49.27

 
38.39

Price/earnings ratio at year end — Basic and Diluted (1)(2)
13

 
9

 
22

 
19

 
17

Number of common shares outstanding at year end (millions)
1,901

 
1,943

 
1,960

 
1,971

 
1,993

Approximate number of employees
8,300

 
8,300

 
8,800

 
9,000

 
9,000

(1) Certain 2017 amounts include the impact of the enactment of the Tax Reform Act (as defined in Item 7). For further discussion, see Note 14 in Item 8.
(2) Certain 2016 amounts include the impact of the gain on AB InBev/SABMiller business combination. For further information, see Note 6 in Item 8.

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



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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
At December 31, 2017, Altria Group, Inc.’s wholly-owned subsidiaries included PM USA, which is engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes in the United States; 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; Nat Sherman, which is engaged in the manufacture and sale of super premium cigarettes and the sale of premium cigars; and UST, which through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, including USSTC and Ste. Michelle, is engaged in the manufacture and sale of smokeless tobacco products and wine. Altria Group, Inc.’s other operating companies included Nu Mark, a wholly-owned subsidiary that is engaged in the manufacture and sale of innovative tobacco products, and PMCC, a wholly-owned subsidiary that maintains a portfolio of finance assets, substantially all of which are leveraged leases. Other Altria Group, Inc. wholly-owned subsidiaries included Altria Group Distribution Company, which provides sales and distribution services to certain Altria Group, Inc. operating subsidiaries, and Altria Client Services LLC, which provides various support services in areas, such as legal, regulatory, consumer engagement, finance, human resources and external affairs to Altria Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries. In addition, Nu Mark, Middleton and Nat Sherman use third-party arrangements in the manufacture of their products. Altria Group, Inc.’s 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. At December 31, 2017, Altria Group, Inc.’s principal wholly-owned subsidiaries were not limited by long-term debt or other agreements in their ability to pay cash dividends or make other distributions with respect to their equity interests.
At September 30, 2016, Altria Group, Inc. had an approximate 27% ownership of SABMiller, which Altria Group, Inc. accounted for under the equity method of accounting. In October 2016, Legacy AB InBev completed the Transaction, and AB InBev became the holding company for the combined SABMiller and Legacy AB InBev businesses. Upon completion of the Transaction, Altria Group, Inc. had a 9.6% ownership of AB InBev based on AB InBev’s shares outstanding. Subsequently, Altria Group, Inc. purchased approximately 12 million ordinary shares of AB InBev, increasing Altria Group, Inc.’s ownership to approximately 10.2% at December 31, 2016. At December 31, 2017, Altria
 
Group, Inc. had an approximate 10.2% ownership of AB InBev, which Altria Group, Inc. 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 Transaction, no earnings from Altria Group, Inc.’s equity investment in AB InBev were recorded for the year ended December 31, 2016. Altria Group, Inc. receives cash dividends on its interest in AB InBev if and when AB InBev pays such dividends. For further discussion, see Note 6. Investment in AB InBev/SABMiller to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 6”).
Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’s innovative tobacco products businesses to Altria Group, Inc.’s consolidated results.
In January 2017, Altria Group, Inc. acquired Nat Sherman, which joined PM USA and Middleton as part of Altria Group, Inc.’s smokeable products segment.


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Table of Contents

Executive Summary
The following executive summary is intended to provide significant highlights of the Discussion and Analysis that follows.
Consolidated Results of Operations
The changes in Altria Group, Inc.’s net earnings and diluted earnings per share (“EPS”) attributable to Altria Group, Inc. for the year ended December 31, 2017, from the year ended December 31, 2016, were due primarily to the following:
(in millions, except per share data)
Net
Earnings

 
Diluted
EPS

For the year ended December 31, 2016
$
14,239

 
$
7.28

2016 NPM Adjustment Items
11

 
0.01

2016 Asset impairment, exit, implementation and acquisition-related costs
135

 
0.07

2016 Tobacco and health litigation items
71

 
0.04

2016 SABMiller special items
(57
)
 
(0.03
)
2016 Loss on early extinguishment of debt
541

 
0.28

2016 Patent litigation settlement
13

 
0.01

2016 Gain on AB InBev/SABMiller business combination
(9,001
)
 
(4.61
)
2016 Tax items
(30
)
 
(0.02
)
Subtotal 2016 special items
(8,317
)
 
(4.25
)
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

Fewer shares outstanding

 
0.05

Change in tax rate
124

 
0.06

Operations
474

 
0.25

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

 
$
5.31

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 2017 compared with 2016 were due primarily to shares repurchased by Altria Group, Inc. under its share repurchase program.
Change in Tax Rate: The change in tax rate was driven primarily by no tax being due on the dividends Altria Group, Inc. received from AB InBev during 2017 as a result of a deemed repatriation tax associated with the Tax Reform Act (as defined below). For further discussion, see Note 14. Income Taxes to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 14”).
 
Operations: The increase of $474 million in operations shown in the table above was due primarily to higher income from the smokeable products and smokeless products segments.
For further details, see the Consolidated Operating Results and Operating Results by Business Segment sections of the following Discussion and Analysis.
2018 Forecasted Results
In February 2018, Altria Group, Inc. forecasted that its 2018 full-year adjusted diluted EPS growth rate is expected to be in the range of 15% to 19% over 2017 full-year adjusted diluted EPS. This forecasted growth rate excludes the income and expense items in the table below. Altria Group, Inc.’s 2018 guidance reflects investments in focus areas for long-term growth, including innovative product development and launches, regulatory science, brand equity, retail fixtures and future retail concepts. Altria Group, Inc. expects its 2018 full-year adjusted effective tax rate will be in a range of approximately 23% to 24%.
Altria Group, Inc.’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, gain on the Transaction, AB InBev/SABMiller 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 18).
Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc. 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.
In addition, the factors described in Item 1A represent continuing risks to this forecast.


15

Table of Contents

Expense (Income), Net Excluded from Adjusted Diluted EPS
 
2018

 
2017

Asset impairment, exit, implementation and acquisition-related costs
$

 
$
0.03

Tobacco and health litigation items

 
0.03

AB InBev special items

 
0.05

Gain on AB InBev/SABMiller business combination 

 
(0.15
)
Settlement charge for lump sum pension payments

 
0.03

Tax items
0.09

(1) 
(1.91
)
 
$
0.09

 
$
(1.92
)
(1) Represents tax expense for a tax basis adjustment related to the deemed repatriation tax associated with the Tax Reform Act (as defined below). For further discussion, see Note 14.
Altria Group, Inc. reports its financial results in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’s management does not view any of these special items to be part of Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’s management also reviews income tax rates on an adjusted basis. Altria Group, Inc.’s adjusted effective tax rate may exclude certain tax items from its reported effective tax rate. Altria Group, Inc.’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 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 Group, Inc.’s consolidated financial statements. In most instances, Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc.’s consolidated results of operations for the period in which the actual amounts become known. Historically, the aggregate differences, if any, between Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’s consolidated financial statements:
Consolidation: The consolidated financial statements include Altria Group, Inc., as well as its wholly-owned and majority-owned subsidiaries. Investments in which Altria Group, Inc. has the ability to exercise significant influence are accounted for under the equity method of accounting. All intercompany transactions and balances have been eliminated.
Revenue Recognition: Altria Group, Inc.’s businesses recognize revenues, net of sales incentives and sales returns, and including shipping and handling charges billed to customers, upon shipment of goods when title and risk of loss pass to customers. Payments received in advance of revenue recognition are deferred and recorded in other accrued liabilities until revenue is recognized. Altria Group, Inc.’s businesses also include excise taxes billed to customers in net revenues. Shipping and handling costs are classified as part of cost of sales.
Depreciation, Amortization, Impairment Testing and Asset Valuation: Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. groups assets and liabilities at the lowest level for which cash flows are separately identifiable. If an impairment is determined to exist, 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 Group, Inc. also reviews the estimated remaining useful lives of long-lived assets whenever events or changes in business circumstances indicate the lives may have changed.


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Substantially all of the goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets recorded by Altria Group, Inc. at December 31, 2017 relate to the acquisitions of Nat Sherman in 2017, Green Smoke in 2014, UST in 2009 and Middleton in 2007. Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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 indefinite-lived intangible asset is considered impaired and is reduced to fair value. For substantially all 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, 2017 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

 
287

E-vapor
111

 
31

Other

 
194

Total
$
5,307

 
$
12,125

During 2017, 2016 and 2015, Altria Group, Inc. completed its quantitative annual impairment test of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets, and no impairment charges resulted. At December 31, 2017, the estimated fair values of all reporting units and the indefinite-lived intangible assets within those reporting units substantially exceeded their carrying values, except for the Columbia Crest trademark within the wine reporting unit. At December 31, 2017, the fair value of the Columbia Crest trademark exceeded its book value of $54 million by approximately 9%. Results for Columbia Crest in 2017 were negatively impacted by increased competitive activity and continued trade inventory reductions.
In 2017, Altria Group, Inc. used an income approach to estimate the fair values of substantially 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 9%.
In performing the 2017 discounted cash flow analysis, Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc.’s long-term financial forecast, which is used by Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’s control.
Although Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’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 3.
Marketing Costs: Altria Group, Inc.’s businesses promote their products with consumer engagement programs, consumer incentives and trade promotions. Such programs include discounts, coupons, rebates, in-store display incentives, event marketing and volume-based incentives. Consumer engagement programs are expensed as incurred. Consumer incentive and trade promotion activities are recorded as a reduction of 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. For interim reporting purposes, consumer engagement programs and certain consumer incentive expenses are charged to operations as a percentage of sales, based on estimated sales and related expenses for the full year.
Contingencies: As discussed in Note 18 and Item 3, legal proceedings covering a wide range of matters are pending or threatened in various United States and foreign jurisdictions against Altria Group, Inc. 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


17

Table of Contents

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 Group, Inc.’s subsidiaries account for the cost of the State Settlement Agreements and FDA user fees as a component of cost of sales. Altria Group, Inc.’s subsidiaries recorded approximately $4.7 billion, $4.9 billion and $4.8 billion of charges to cost of sales for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively, in connection with the State Settlement Agreements and FDA user fees.
Altria Group, Inc. 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 18 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 16. Benefit Plans to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 16”), Altria Group, Inc. provides a range of benefits to its employees and retired employees, including pension, postretirement health care and postemployment benefits. Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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, 2017, Altria Group, Inc.’s discount rate assumptions for its pension and postretirement plans obligations decreased from 4.1% to 3.7% at December 31, 2017. Altria Group, Inc. presently anticipates an increase of approximately $30 million in its 2018 pre-tax pension and postretirement expense versus 2017, excluding amounts in each year related to termination, settlement and curtailment. This anticipated increase is due primarily to higher amortization of unrecognized losses, driven by the impact of lower discount rates, partially offset by the expected return on postretirement assets resulting from the December 2017 $270 million contribution to fund certain postretirement benefits. Assuming no change to the shape of the yield curve, a 50 basis point decrease in Altria Group, Inc.’s discount rates would increase Altria Group, Inc.’s pension and postretirement expense by approximately $53 million, and a 50 basis point increase in Altria Group, Inc.’s discount rates would decrease Altria Group, Inc.’s pension and postretirement expense by approximately $49 million. Similarly, a 50 basis point decrease (increase) in the expected return on plan assets would increase (decrease) Altria Group, Inc.’s pension and postretirement expense by approximately $38 million. See Note 16 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. Altria Group, Inc.’s 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 Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. recognized income tax benefits and charges in the consolidated statements of earnings during 2017, 2016 and 2015 as a result of various tax events, including the impact of the Tax Reform Act (as defined below).


18

Table of Contents

On December 22, 2017, the U.S. Government enacted comprehensive tax legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Reform Act”). The main provisions of the Tax Reform Act that impact Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc.’s share of AB InBev’s accumulated earnings and associated taxes. Altria Group, Inc. may be required to adjust these provisional estimates based on (i) additional guidance related to, or interpretation of, the Tax Reform Act and associated tax laws and (ii) additional information to be received from AB InBev, including information regarding AB InBev’s accumulated earnings and associated taxes for the 2016 and 2017 tax years. This additional guidance and information could result in increases or decreases to the provisional estimates, which may be significant in relation to these estimates. Altria Group, Inc. will record any such adjustments in 2018.
For additional information on income taxes, see Note 14.

Consolidated Operating Results
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
(in millions)
2017

 
2016

 
2015

Net Revenues:
 
 
 
 
 
Smokeable products
$
22,636

 
$
22,851

 
$
22,792

Smokeless products
2,155

 
2,051

 
1,879

Wine
698

 
746

 
692

All other
87

 
96

 
71

Net revenues
$
25,576

 
$
25,744

 
$
25,434

Excise Taxes on Products:
 
 
 
 
 
Smokeable products
$
5,927

 
$
6,247

 
$
6,423

Smokeless products
132

 
135

 
133

Wine
23

 
25

 
24

Excise taxes on products
$
6,082

 
$
6,407

 
$
6,580

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

 
$
7,768

 
$
7,569

Smokeless products
1,300

 
1,177

 
1,108

Wine
147

 
164

 
152

All other
(51
)
 
(99
)
 
(169
)
Amortization of intangibles
(21
)
 
(21
)
 
(21
)
General corporate expenses
(227
)
 
(222
)
 
(237
)
Reductions of PMI tax-related receivable

 

 
(41
)
Corporate asset impairment and exit costs

 
(5
)
 

Operating income
$
9,556

 
$
8,762

 
$
8,361

 
As discussed further in Note 15, 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 2017, 2016 and 2015 affected the comparability of statement of earnings amounts.
Gain on AB InBev/SABMiller Business Combination: For the year ended December 31, 2017, Altria Group, Inc. recorded pre-tax gains of $445 million related to the planned completion of the remaining AB InBev divestitures of certain SABMiller assets and businesses in connection with Legacy AB InBev obtaining necessary regulatory clearances for the Transaction. As a result of the Transaction, for the year ended December 31, 2016, Altria Group, Inc. recorded a pre-tax gain of approximately $13.9 billion. For further discussion, see Note 6.
NPM Adjustment Items: For the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, pre-tax expense (income) for NPM Adjustment Items was recorded in Altria Group, Inc.’s consolidated statements of earnings as follows:
(in millions)
2017

 
2016

 
2015

Smokeable products segment
$
(5
)
 
$
12

 
$
(97
)
Interest and other debt expense, net
9

 
6

 
13

Total
$
4

 
$
18

 
$
(84
)
The amounts shown in the table above for the smokeable products segment were recorded by PM USA as increases (reductions) to costs of sales, which decreased (increased) operating companies income in the smokeable products segment. For further discussion, see Health Care Cost Recovery Litigation - NPM Adjustment Disputes in Note 18.
Tobacco and Health Litigation Items: For the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, pre-tax charges related to certain tobacco and health litigations items were recorded in Altria Group, Inc.’s consolidated statements of earnings as follows:
(in millions)
2017

 
2016

 
2015

Smokeable products segment
$
72

 
$
88

 
$
127

Interest and other debt expense, net
8

 
17

 
23

Total
$
80

 
$
105

 
$
150

During 2017, PM USA recorded pre-tax charges of $72 million in marketing, administration and research costs and $8 million in interest costs, substantially all of which related to 11 Engle progeny cases.
During 2016, PM USA recorded pre-tax charges of $88 million in marketing, administration and research costs, primarily


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related to settlements in the Miner and Aspinall cases totaling approximately $67 million and $16 million related to a judgment in the Merino case. In addition, during 2016, PM USA recorded $17 million in interest costs primarily related to Aspinall.
During 2015, PM USA recorded pre-tax charges in marketing, administration and research costs in seven state Engle progeny cases and Schwarz of $59 million and $25 million, respectively, as well as $14 million and $9 million, respectively, in interest costs related to these cases. Additionally in 2015, PM USA and certain other cigarette manufacturers reached an agreement to resolve approximately 415 pending federal Engle progeny cases. As a result of the agreement, PM USA recorded a pre-tax provision of approximately $43 million in marketing, administration and research costs.
For further discussion, see Note 18.
Settlement for Lump Sum Pension Payments: In the third quarter of 2017, Altria Group, Inc. 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 Altria Group, Inc.’s consolidated statement of earnings as follows:
For the Year Ended December 31, 2017
(in millions)
Cost of Sales

 
Marketing, Administration and Research Costs

 
Total

Smokeable products
$
39

 
$
18

 
$
57

Smokeless products

 
16

 
16

General corporate and other

 
8

 
8

Total
$
39

 
$
42

 
$
81

For further discussion, see Note 16.
Asset Impairment, Exit, Implementation, Integration and Acquisition-Related Costs: Pre-tax asset impairment, exit, implementation, integration and acquisition-related costs for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 were $89 million, $206 million and $11 million, respectively.
In October 2016, Altria Group, Inc. announced the consolidation of certain of its operating companies’ manufacturing facilities to streamline operations and achieve greater efficiencies. The consolidation is expected to be substantially completed by the end of the first quarter of 2018 and deliver approximately $50 million in annualized cost savings by the end of 2018.
As a result of the consolidation, Altria Group, Inc. expects to record total pre-tax charges of approximately $150 million, or $0.05 per share. Of this amount, during 2017, Altria Group, Inc.
 
recorded pre-tax charges of $78 million and, in 2016, recorded $71 million.
In January 2016, Altria Group, Inc. announced a productivity initiative designed to maintain its operating companies’ leadership and cost competitiveness. The initiative, which reduces spending on certain selling, general and administrative infrastructure and implements a leaner organizational structure, delivered Altria Group, Inc.’s goal of approximately $300 million in annualized productivity savings as of December 31, 2017. As a result of the initiative, during 2016, Altria Group, Inc. incurred total pre-tax restructuring charges of $132 million. Total pre-tax charges related to the initiative have been completed.
For further discussion on asset impairment, exit and implementation costs, including a breakdown of these costs by segment, see Note 4.
Loss on Early Extinguishment of Debt: During 2016 and 2015, Altria Group, Inc. completed debt tender offers to purchase for cash certain of its senior unsecured notes in aggregate principal amounts of $0.9 billion and $0.8 billion, respectively.
As a result of these debt tender offers, pre-tax losses on early extinguishment of debt were recorded as follows:
(in millions)
 
2016

 
2015

Premiums and fees
 
$
809

 
$
226

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

 
2

Total
 
$
823

 
$
228

For further discussion, see Note 9. Long-Term Debt to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 9”).
AB InBev/SABMiller Special Items: Altria Group, Inc.’s earnings from its equity investment in AB InBev for 2017 included net pre-tax charges of $160 million, consisting primarily of Altria Group, Inc.’s share of AB InBev’s Brazilian tax item and Altria Group, Inc.’s share of AB InBev’s mark-to-market losses on AB InBev’s derivative financial instruments used to hedge certain share commitments. Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’s share of SABMiller’s costs related to the Transaction and asset impairment charges. Altria Group, Inc.’s earnings from its equity investment in SABMiller for 2015 included net pre-tax charges of $126 million, consisting primarily of Altria Group, Inc.’s share of SABMiller’s asset impairment charges.
Tax Items: Tax items for 2017 included net tax benefits of $3,367 million related to the Tax Reform Act recorded in the


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fourth quarter of 2017 as follows: (i) a tax benefit of $3,017 million to re-measure Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries’ 2010-2013 tax years (“IRS 2010-2013 Audit”), partially offset by 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. Tax items for 2015 primarily included the reversal of tax reserves and associated interest due primarily to the closure in August 2015 of the IRS audit of Altria Group, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries’ 2007-2009 tax years, partially offset by a reversal of foreign tax credits primarily associated with SABMiller dividends. For further discussion, see Note 14.
2017 Compared with 2016
The following discussion compares consolidated operating results for the year ended December 31, 2017 with the year ended December 31, 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 $203 million (2.6%), 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 $288 million (10.9%), due primarily to lower costs in the smokeable products segment.
Operating income increased $794 million (9.1%), 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 Group, Inc.’s equity investment in AB InBev/SABMiller, which decreased $263 million (33.1%), were negatively impacted by AB InBev/SABMiller special items.
Altria Group, Inc.’s effective income tax rate decreased 38.9 percentage points to an effective income tax benefit rate of 4.1%, substantially all of which is due to the Tax Reform Act. For further discussion, see Note 14.
 
Net earnings attributable to Altria Group, Inc. of $10,222 million decreased $4,017 million (28.2%), due primarily to a lower gain on the Transaction in 2017 and lower earnings from Altria Group, Inc.’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. Diluted and basic EPS attributable to Altria Group, Inc. of $5.31, each decreased by 27.1% due to lower net earnings attributable to Altria Group, Inc., partially offset by fewer shares outstanding.
2016 Compared with 2015
The following discussion compares consolidated operating results for the year ended December 31, 2016 with the year ended December 31, 2015.
Net revenues, which include excise taxes billed to customers, increased $310 million (1.2%), due primarily to higher net revenues in the smokeless products, smokeable products and wine segments.
Cost of sales was essentially unchanged as higher per unit settlement charges and NPM Adjustment Items in 2015 were offset by lower shipment volume and lower pension and benefit costs in the smokeable products segment.
Excise taxes on products decreased $173 million (2.6%), due primarily to lower smokeable products shipment volume.
Marketing, administration and research costs decreased $58 million (2.1%), due primarily to lower costs in the smokeable products segment (which included lower tobacco and health litigation items), partially offset by higher costs in the smokeless products segment.
Operating income increased $401 million (4.8%), due primarily to higher operating results from the smokeable products and smokeless products segments (which included asset impairment, exit and implementation costs in connection with the facilities consolidation and productivity initiative in 2016), lower investment spending in the innovative tobacco products businesses, a reduction of a PMI tax-related receivable in 2015 and higher operating results from the financial services business.
Interest and other debt expense, net, decreased $70 million (8.6%), due primarily to lower interest costs on debt as a result of a debt maturity in 2015 and debt tender offers in 2016 and 2015.
Earnings from Altria Group, Inc.’s equity investment in SABMiller, which increased $38 million (5.0%), were positively impacted by SABMiller special items, mostly offset by three fewer months of SABMiller’s earnings in 2016 versus 2015, as a result of the timing of the completion of the Transaction.
Net earnings attributable to Altria Group, Inc. of $14,239 million increased $8,998 million (171.7%), due primarily to the gain on the Transaction, higher operating income and lower interest and other debt expense, partially offset by a higher loss on early extinguishment of debt. Diluted and basic EPS attributable to Altria Group, Inc. of $7.28, each increased by


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172.7% due to higher net earnings attributable to Altria Group, Inc. and 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 our consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position. These challenges, some of which are discussed in more detail below, in Note 18, Item 1A and Item 3, include:
pending and threatened litigation and bonding requirements;
the requirement to issue “corrective statements” in various media in connection with the federal government’s lawsuit;
restrictions and requirements imposed by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (“FSPTCA”), and restrictions and requirements (and related enforcement actions) that have been, and in the future will be, imposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“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:
increases in the minimum age to purchase tobacco products above the current federal minimum age of 18;
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;
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 tobacco leaf and other raw material prices, availability and quality.
In addition to and in connection with the foregoing, evolving adult tobacco consumer preferences pose challenges for Altria Group, Inc.’s tobacco subsidiaries. Our tobacco subsidiaries believe that a significant number of adult tobacco consumers switch between tobacco categories, use multiple forms of tobacco products and try innovative tobacco products, such as e-vapor products. The e-vapor category grew rapidly from 2012 through early 2015 off a small base, but then slowed. The growth trend resumed in 2017. Nu Mark believes the category will continue to be dynamic as adult tobacco consumers explore a variety of tobacco product options.
Altria Group, Inc. 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 Item1A 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 Agricultural Products; 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


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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 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 - 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 new 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:
the FDA’s planned 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 - Product Standards below);
the FDA’s planned 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);



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the FDA’s reconsideration of whether its current plan, which is to review all “provisional” products pending in the substantial equivalence queue, is an effective use of its resources and, if not, whether it should continue to pursue its current approach to these reviews (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.
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 Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc., 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 Group, Inc. or otherwise have a material adverse effect on the business, consolidated results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria Group, Inc. and its tobacco subsidiaries.


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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 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 the limitations described below, 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.
Since enactment in 2009, several lawsuits have been filed challenging various provisions of the FSPTCA, the Final Tobacco Marketing Rule and the deeming regulations, including their constitutionality and the scope of the FDA’s authority thereunder. One lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of an FDA regulation that restricts tobacco manufacturers from using the trade or brand name of a non-tobacco product on cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products. The case was dismissed and the FDA agreed not to enforce the current or any amended trade name rule until at least 180 days after rulemaking on the amended rule concludes. In November 2011, the FDA proposed an amended rule, but has not yet issued a final rule. PM USA and USSTC submitted comments on the proposed amended rule.
 
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 initiated by R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard and several other plaintiffs, in which plaintiffs prevailed both at the federal trial and appellate levels, the FDA decided not to seek further review of the U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision and 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.  All 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. PM USA and USSTC also 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, some of which were found to be substantially equivalent and others were found to be not substantially equivalent. The provisional products (all smokeless tobacco products) found to be not substantially equivalent 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. There remain a significant number of substantial equivalence reports for products for


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which the FDA has not announced decisions. 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 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 Group, Inc. 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.
Because of the limited number of e-vapor products on the market as of February 15, 2007, Nu Mark may not be able to file substantial equivalence reports with the FDA on its e-vapor products in the market as of August 8, 2016. In such case, Nu Mark 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 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 before introducing the products into the market.
In March 2015, the FDA issued a document entitled “Guidance for Industry: Demonstrating the Substantial Equivalence of a New Tobacco Product: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions” (“Substantial Equivalence
 
Guidance”). In that document, the FDA announced 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. Our cigarette and smokeless tobacco subsidiaries market various products that fall within the scope of the Substantial Equivalence Guidance.
In September 2015, after industry objections to the Substantial Equivalence Guidance, the FDA issued a second edition of the guidance (the “Revised SE Guidance”), which continued to require FDA pre-authorization for certain label changes and for product quantity changes. PM USA, USSTC and other tobacco product manufacturers initiated litigation challenging the Revised SE Guidance. In August 2016, the court held that a modification to an existing product’s label does not result in a “new tobacco product” and therefore such a label change does not give rise to the substantial equivalence review process. However, the court upheld the Revised SE Guidance in all other respects, including its treatment of product quantity changes as modifications that give rise to a new tobacco product requiring substantial equivalence review.
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 Nu Mark. 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 May 2016, Middleton filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the FDA challenging the application of the descriptor ban on the use of the word “mild” as it relates to the “Black & Mild” trademark. In July 2016, 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


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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.
Potential Product Standards
Menthol in cigarettes: As required by the FSPTCA, the TPSAC submitted a report on the impact of the use of menthol in cigarettes on the public health and related recommendations to the FDA in March 2011. It recommended, among other things, that the “[r]emoval of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States” and also noted that any ban on menthol cigarettes could lead to an increase in contraband cigarettes and other potential unintended consequences. Also in March 2011, PM USA submitted a report to the FDA outlining its position that regulatory actions related to the use of menthol cigarettes are not warranted based on available science and evidence and that any significant restrictions on the use of menthol in cigarettes would have unintended consequences detrimental to public health and society.
In July 2013, the FDA released its preliminary scientific evaluation on menthol, which states “that menthol cigarettes pose a public health risk above that seen with non-menthol cigarettes.” At the same time, the FDA also issued an ANPRM requesting comments on the FDA’s preliminary scientific evaluation and information that may inform potential regulatory actions regarding menthol in cigarettes. PM USA submitted comments to the FDA raising a number of concerns about the preliminary scientific evidence and unintended consequences.
The July 2017 Comprehensive Plan contemplates the issuance of an ANPRM seeking comments on the role that flavors including menthol in tobacco products play in attracting youth. 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.
NNN in Smokeless Tobacco: In January 2017, the FDA proposed a product standard for N-nitrosonornicotine (“NNN”) levels in finished smokeless tobacco products.  USSTC believes that the FDA has not adequately considered whether the proposed standard is technically achievable and further believes it would have a significant negative impact on farmers and manufacturers.  USSTC is advocating for withdrawal of the proposed rule. In March 2017, the FDA extended the comment period and acknowledged what it described as a “typographical error” in a formula it used in documentation supporting the proposed rule. 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 results of operations, cash flows or financial position of Altria Group, Inc. and USSTC.
 
Nicotine and Flavors: As noted above, the FDA announced in the July 2017 Comprehensive Plan its intent to seek comments through an ANPRM on the following matters, among others:
Nicotine in cigarettes: 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 intends to seek comments on the potential unintended 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; and
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.
These ANPRM processes may ultimately lead to the FDA’s development of product standards for nicotine and flavors. 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.
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 23, 2018, the weighted-average state and certain local cigarette excise taxes increased from $0.36 to $1.75 per pack. During


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2017, Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut and Puerto Rico enacted legislation to increase their cigarette excise taxes. As of February 23, 2018, no state has increased its cigarette excise tax in 2018, 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 Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’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 23, 2018, 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 23, 2018, 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 18, 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 Group, Inc., see Financial Review - Debt and Liquidity - Payments Under State Settlement Agreements and FDA Regulation below and Note 18. The State Settlement Agreements also place numerous requirements and restrictions on participating manufacturers’ business operations, 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.


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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 Group, Inc.’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: California (21), Hawaii (21), Alabama (19), Alaska (19), New Jersey (21), Utah (19), Oregon (21) and Maine (21).  Various localities (such as New York City (21) and Chicago (21)) have taken similar actions.
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 Group, Inc. and its tobacco subsidiaries believe that the public should be guided by the messages of the United States 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 moist smokeless tobacco (“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 Group, Inc. and its tobacco subsidiaries.
Governmental Investigations: From time to time, Altria Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries are subject to governmental investigations on a range of matters. Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc.’s tobacco subsidiaries have made in legitimate distribution channels. Moreover, illicit trade in tobacco products results in federal, state and local governments losing tax


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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 Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc. and its tobacco subsidiaries devote significant resources to help prevent illicit trade in tobacco products and to protect legitimate trade channels. For example, Altria Group, Inc.’s tobacco subsidiaries are engaged 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; engagement with and support of law enforcement and regulatory agencies; litigation to protect their trademarks; and support for a variety of federal and state legislative initiatives. Legislative initiatives to address illicit trade in tobacco products are designed to protect the legitimate channels of distribution, impose more stringent penalties for the violation of illegal trade laws and provide additional tools for law enforcement. Regulatory measures and related governmental actions to prevent the illicit manufacture and trade of tobacco products continue to evolve as the nature of illicit tobacco products evolves.
Price, Availability and Quality of Agricultural Products
Shifts in crops (such as those driven by economic conditions and adverse weather patterns), government mandated prices, economic trade sanctions, geopolitical instability and production control programs may increase or decrease the cost or reduce the supply or quality of tobacco and other agricultural products used to manufacture our companies’ products. 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 impact adult tobacco consumer product acceptability. Any significant change in the price, quality or availability of tobacco leaf or other agricultural products used to manufacture our products could restrict our subsidiaries’ ability to continue marketing existing products or impact adult consumer product acceptability, adversely affecting our subsidiaries’ profitability and businesses.
 
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)
2017

 
2016

 
2015

 
2017

 
2016

 
2015

Smokeable products
$
22,636

 
$
22,851

 
$
22,792

 
$
8,408

 
$
7,768

 
$
7,569

Smokeless products
2,155

 
2,051

 
1,879

 
1,300

 
1,177

 
1,108

Total smokeable and smokeless products
$
24,791

 
$
24,902

 
$
24,671

 
$
9,708

 
$
8,945

 
$
8,677

Smokeable Products Segment
The smokeable products segment’s operating companies income increased during 2017 due primarily to higher pricing and lower costs, partially offset by lower shipment volume. Shipment volume and retail share were negatively impacted in 2017 by a large cigarette excise tax increase in California.
The following table summarizes the smokeable products segment shipment volume performance:
 
Shipment Volume
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
(sticks in millions)
2017

 
2016

 
2015

Cigarettes:
 
 
 
 
 
     Marlboro
99,974

 
105,297

 
108,113

     Other premium
5,967

 
6,382

 
6,753

     Discount
10,665

 
11,251

 
11,152

Total cigarettes
116,606

 
122,930

 
126,018

Cigars:
 
 
 
 
 
     Black & Mild
1,527

 
1,379

 
1,295

     Other
15

 
24

 
30

Total cigars
1,542

 
1,403

 
1,325

Total smokeable products
118,148

 
124,333

 
127,343

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


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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,
 
2017

 
2016

 
2015

Cigarettes:
 
 
 
 
 
     Marlboro
43.3
%
 
43.7
%
 
43.8
%
     Other premium
2.7

 
2.8

 
2.8

     Discount
4.7

 
4.6

 
4.5

Total cigarettes
50.7
%
 
51.1
%
 
51.1
%
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.    
PM USA and Middleton executed the following pricing and promotional allowance actions during 2017, 2016 and 2015:
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.
Effective November 15, 2015, PM USA increased the list price on all of its cigarette brands by $0.07 per pack.
 
Effective May 17, 2015, PM USA increased the list price on all of its cigarette brands by $0.07 per pack.
The following discussion compares operating results for the smokeable products segment for the year ended December 31, 2017 with the year ended December 31, 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 $640 million (8.2%), due primarily to higher pricing ($1,023 million), which includes higher promotional investments, lower marketing, administration and research costs ($251 million), which includes 2016 state excise tax ballot initiative spending and lower product liability defense costs, and lower asset impairment and exit costs ($120 million). These factors were partially offset by lower shipment volume ($691 million) and higher per unit settlement charges.
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 law controlling relevant legal issues, and litigation strategy and tactics. For further discussion on these matters, see Note 18 and Item 3. For the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, product liability defense costs for PM USA were $179 million, $234 million and $228 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.
Total smokeable products segment’s reported shipment volume decreased 5.0%. 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 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.
The smokeable products segment’s reported cigars shipment volume increased 9.9%.
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. PM USA’s total retail share decreased 0.4 share points.
The following discussion compares operating results for the smokeable products segment for the year ended December 31, 2016 with the year ended December 31, 2015.


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Net revenues, which include excise taxes billed to customers, increased $59 million (0.3%), due primarily to higher pricing, which includes higher promotional investments, partially offset by lower shipment volume ($577 million).
Operating companies income increased $199 million (2.6%), due primarily to higher pricing, which includes higher promotional investments, lower costs (due primarily to lower pension and benefit costs) and lower tobacco and health litigation items ($39 million). These factors were partially offset by lower shipment volume ($298 million), higher per unit settlement charges, costs in connection with the productivity initiative and facilities consolidation ($134 million) and NPM Adjustment Items in 2015 ($97 million).    
Total smokeable products segment’s reported shipment volume decreased 2.4%. The smokeable products segment’s reported and adjusted domestic cigarettes shipment volume decreased approximately 2.5% driven primarily by the industry’s rate of decline. Total cigarette industry volumes declined by an estimated 2.5%.
Shipments of premium cigarettes accounted for 90.8% of smokeable products’ reported domestic cigarettes shipment volume for 2016, versus 91.2% for 2015.
Middleton’s reported cigars shipment volume increased 5.9%, driven primarily by Black & Mild in the tipped cigars segment.
Marlboro’s retail share declined 0.1 share point in 2016. PM USA’s total retail share was unchanged in 2016.
Smokeless Products Segment
During 2017, the smokeless products segment grew net revenues and operating companies income, primarily through higher pricing, partially offset by unfavorable mix and lower shipment volume.
During 2017, USSTC voluntarily recalled certain smokeless tobacco products manufactured at its Franklin Park, Illinois facility due to a product tampering incident (the “Recall”). USSTC has concluded the Recall and trade inventories have been replenished. USSTC estimates that the Recall reduced smokeless products segment operating companies income by approximately $60 million in 2017.
The following table summarizes smokeless products segment shipment volume performance:
 
Shipment Volume
For the Years Ended December 31,
(cans and packs in millions)
2017

 
2016

 
2015

Copenhagen
531.6

 
525.1

 
474.7

Skoal
241.9

 
260.9

 
267.9

Copenhagen and Skoal
773.5

 
786.0

 
742.6

Other
67.8

 
67.5

 
70.9

Total smokeless products
841.3

 
853.5

 
813.5

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,
 
2017

 
2016

 
2015

Copenhagen
33.7
%
 
33.2
%
 
31.0
%
Skoal
16.7

 
18.1

 
19.4

Copenhagen and Skoal
50.4

 
51.3

 
50.4

Other
3.3

 
3.4

 
3.7

Total smokeless products
53.7
%
 
54.7
%
 
54.1
%
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.
USSTC executed the following pricing actions during 2017, 2016 and 2015:
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.
Effective December 8, 2015, USSTC increased the list price on Copenhagen and Skoal popular price products by $0.12 per can. In addition, USSTC increased the list price


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on all its brands, except for Copenhagen and Skoal popular price products, by $0.07 per can.
Effective May 5, 2015, USSTC increased the list price on all its brands by $0.07 per can.
The following discussion compares operating results for the smokeless products segment for the year ended December 31, 2017 with the year ended December 31, 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 $123 million (10.5%), due primarily to higher pricing ($168 million), which includes lower promotional investments, and lower manufacturing costs, partially offset by unfavorable mix, lower shipment volume ($18 million) and a settlement charge for lump sum pension payments ($16 million).
USSTC’s reported domestic shipment volume decreased 1.4%, driven primarily by declines in Skoal. After adjusting for trade inventory movements and other factors, USSTC estimates that its domestic smokeless products shipment volume declined approximately 2%. USSTC estimates that the smokeless products category volume was essentially unchanged over the six months ended December 31, 2017.
Copenhagen’s 0.5 retail share point growth was offset by Skoal’s 1.4 retail share point loss, contributing to a combined retail share decline of 0.9 share points.
The following discussion compares operating results for the smokeless products segment for the year ended December 31, 2016 with the year ended December 31, 2015.
Net revenues, which include excise taxes billed to customers, increased $172 million (9.2%), due primarily to higher shipment volume ($111 million) and higher pricing, which includes higher promotional investments, partially offset by mix due to growth in popular price products.
Operating companies income increased $69 million (6.2%), due primarily to higher shipment volume ($98 million) and higher pricing, which includes higher promotional investments, partially offset by costs in connection with the productivity initiative and facilities consolidation ($57 million), product mix, higher marketing, administration and research costs and higher manufacturing costs.
The smokeless products segment’s reported domestic shipment volume increased 4.9%, driven by Copenhagen, partially offset by declines in Skoal and Other portfolio brands. Copenhagen and Skoal’s combined reported domestic shipment volume increased 5.8%.
After adjusting for trade inventory movements and other factors, USSTC estimates that its domestic smokeless products shipment volume grew approximately 5% for 2016. USSTC estimates that the smokeless products category volume grew approximately 2.5% over the six months ended December 31, 2016.
 
Copenhagen and Skoal’s combined retail share increased 0.9 share points to 51.3%. Copenhagen’s retail share increased 2.2 share points and Skoal’s retail share declined 1.3 share points.
Total smokeless products retail share increased 0.6 share points to 54.7%.

  
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
Ste. Michelle’s results for 2017 were negatively impacted by competitive activity, continued trade inventory reductions and slower premium wine category growth.
The following table summarizes operating results for the wine segment:
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
(in millions)
2017

 
2016

 
2015

Net revenues
$
698

 
$
746

 
$
692

Operating companies income
$
147

 
$
164

 
$
152



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The following discussion compares operating results for the wine segment for the year ended December 31, 2017 with the year ended December 31, 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 $17 million (10.4%), due primarily to lower shipment volume.
For 2017, Ste. Michelle’s reported wine shipment volume of 8,530 thousand cases decreased 8.6%.
The following discussion compares operating results for the wine segment for the year ended December 31, 2016 with the year ended December 31, 2015.
Net revenues, which include excise taxes billed to customers, increased $54 million (7.8%), due primarily to higher shipment volume. Operating companies income increased $12 million (7.9%), due primarily to higher shipment volume and improved premium mix, partially offset by higher costs.
For 2016, Ste. Michelle’s reported wine shipment volume of 9,333 thousand cases grew 5.3%, driven primarily by growth among its core premium brands.
Financial Review
Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities
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 Transaction and gains from exercising derivative financial instruments associated with the Transaction in 2016;
higher operating companies income in the smokeable and smokeless products segments;
lower contributions to Altria Group, Inc.’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.

During 2016, net cash provided by operating activities was $3.8 billion compared with $5.8 billion during 2015. This decrease was due primarily to the following:
income taxes paid on both the cash proceeds from the Transaction and gains from exercising derivative financial instruments associated with the Transaction in 2016; and
voluntary contributions totaling $500 million to Altria Group, Inc.’s pension plans during 2016;
partially offset by:
higher cumulative dividends received from AB InBev and SABMiller in 2016.
 
Altria Group, Inc. had a working capital deficit at December 31, 2017 and 2016. Altria Group, Inc.’s management believes that it has the ability to fund these working capital deficits with cash provided by operating activities and/or short-term borrowings under its commercial paper program as discussed in the Debt and Liquidity section below.
Net Cash Provided by/Used in Investing Activities
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 Transaction during 2016;
proceeds of $0.5 billion from exercising derivative financial instruments associated with the 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.
During 2016, net cash provided by investing activities was $3.7 billion compared with net cash used in investing activities of $15 million during 2015. This change was due primarily to the following:
proceeds of $4.8 billion from the Transaction during 2016; and
proceeds of $0.5 billion from exercising derivative financial instruments associated with the Transaction during 2016;
partially offset by:
payment of approximately $1.6 billion for the purchase of ordinary shares of AB InBev during 2016.
Capital expenditures for 2017 increased 5.3% to $199 million, due primarily to the acquisition of the previously leased headquarters in Richmond, Virginia in 2017, partially offset by lower spending related to manufacturing. Capital expenditures for 2018 are expected to be in the range of $200 million to $250 million, and are expected to be funded from operating cash flows. The increase in expected capital expenditures in 2018 compared with 2017 is due primarily to spending related to manufacturing.


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Net Cash Used in Financing Activities
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.
During 2016, net cash used in financing activities was $5.3 billion compared with $6.8 billion during 2015. This decrease was due primarily 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; and
$1.0 billion repayment of Altria Group, Inc. senior unsecured notes at scheduled maturity in 2015;
partially offset by:
higher premiums, fees and repayments of debt in connection with debt tender offers during 2016;
higher repurchases of common stock during 2016; and
higher dividends paid during 2016.
Debt and Liquidity
Credit Ratings - Altria Group, Inc.’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 Group, Inc.’s credit agreement is discussed below. See the discussion in Item 1A regarding the potential adverse impact of certain events on Altria Group, Inc.’s credit ratings.
At December 31, 2017, the credit ratings and outlook for Altria Group, Inc.’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
 
Stable
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (“Standard & Poor’s”)
A-1
 
A-
 
Stable
Fitch Ratings Ltd. (“Fitch”) 1
F2
 
A-
 
Stable
1 On April 3, 2017, Fitch raised the long-term debt credit rating for Altria Group, Inc. to A- from BBB+.
Credit Lines - From time to time, Altria Group, Inc. 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, 2017, 2016 and 2015, Altria Group, Inc. had no short-term borrowings.
At December 31, 2017, Altria Group, Inc. had in place a senior unsecured 5-year revolving credit agreement (the “Credit Agreement”). The Credit Agreement provides for borrowings up to an aggregate principal amount of $3.0 billion and expires August 19, 2020.
Pricing for interest and fees under the Credit Agreement may be modified in the event of a change in the rating of Altria Group, Inc.’s long-term senior unsecured debt. 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 Group, Inc.’s long-term senior unsecured debt from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. The applicable percentage based on Altria Group, Inc.’s long-term senior unsecured debt ratings at December 31, 2017 for borrowings under the Credit Agreement was 1.125%. The Credit Agreement does not include any other rating triggers, nor does it contain any provisions that could require the posting of collateral. At December 31, 2017, credit available to Altria Group, Inc. under the Credit Agreement was $3.0 billion.
The Credit Agreement is used for general corporate purposes and to support Altria Group, Inc.’s commercial paper issuances. The Credit Agreement requires that Altria Group, Inc. maintain (i) a ratio of debt to consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) of not more than 3.0 to 1.0 and (ii) a ratio of consolidated EBITDA to consolidated interest expense of not less than 4.0 to 1.0, each calculated as of the end of the applicable quarter on a rolling four quarters basis. At December 31, 2017, the ratios of debt to consolidated EBITDA and consolidated EBITDA to consolidated interest expense, calculated in accordance with the Credit Agreement, were 1.3 to 1.0 and 14.8 to 1.0, respectively. Altria Group, Inc. expects to continue to meet its covenants associated with the Credit Agreement. The terms “consolidated EBITDA,” “debt” and “consolidated interest expense,” as defined in the Credit Agreement, include certain adjustments. Exhibit 99.3 to Altria Group, Inc.’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2013 sets forth the definitions of these terms as they appear in the Credit Agreement and is incorporated herein by reference.
Any commercial paper issued by Altria Group, Inc. and borrowings under the Credit Agreement are guaranteed by PM USA as further discussed in Note 19. Condensed Consolidating Financial Information to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 (“Note 19”).
Financial Market Environment - Altria Group, Inc. believes it has adequate liquidity and access to financial resources to meet its anticipated obligations and ongoing business needs in the foreseeable future. Altria Group, Inc. continues to monitor the credit quality of its bank group and is not aware of any potential non-performing credit provider in that group. Altria Group, Inc. believes the lenders in its bank group will be willing and able to advance funds in accordance with their legal obligations. See Item


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1A for certain risk factors associated with the foregoing discussion.
Tax Reform Act - As a result of the Tax Reform Act’s reduction in the U.S. federal statutory corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% effective January 1, 2018, Altria Group, Inc. expects increased liquidity. Altria Group, Inc. plans to make strategic long-term investments with the increased liquidity, reinvesting approximately one-third of the total tax reform benefit in 2018, with a moderating level of investment in subsequent years.
Debt - At December 31, 2017 and 2016, Altria Group, Inc.’s total debt was $13.9 billion for each period.
 
All of Altria Group, Inc.’s debt was fixed-rate debt at December 31, 2017 and 2016. The weighted-average coupon interest rate on total debt was approximately 4.9% at December 31, 2017 and 2016. For further details on long-term debt, see Note 9.
In October 2017, Altria Group, Inc. filed a registration statement on Form S-3 with the SEC, under which Altria Group, Inc. 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 Group, Inc. 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 18, Altria Group, Inc. 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, 2017. From time to time, subsidiaries of Altria Group, Inc. also issue lines of credit to affiliated entities. In addition, as discussed in Note 19, PM USA has issued guarantees relating to Altria Group, Inc.’s obligations under its outstanding debt securities, borrowings under the 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 Group, Inc.’s liquidity.
Aggregate Contractual Obligations - The following table summarizes Altria Group, Inc.’s contractual obligations at December 31, 2017:
 
Payments Due
(in millions)
Total

 
2018

 
2019 - 2020

 
2021 - 2022

 
2023 and Thereafter

Long-term debt (1)
$
14,017

 
$
864

 
$
2,144

 
$
3,400

 
$
7,609

Interest on borrowings (2)
8,403

 
693

 
1,100

 
849

 
5,761

Operating leases (3)
192

 
38

 
61

 
49

 
44

Purchase obligations: (4)

 

 

 

 

Inventory and production costs
3,452

 
1,023

 
1,250

 
600

 
579

Other
634

 
456

 
159

 
19

 

 
4,086

 
1,479

 
1,409

 
619

 
579

Other long-term liabilities (5)
2,084

 
78

 
166

 
194

 
1,646

 
$
28,782

 
$
3,152

 
$
4,880

 
$
5,111

 
$
15,639

(1) Amounts represent the expected cash payments of Altria Group, Inc.’s long-term debt.
(2) Amounts represent the expected cash payments of Altria Group, Inc.’s interest expense on its long-term debt. Interest on Altria Group, Inc.’s debt, which was all fixed-rate debt at December 31, 2017, 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 2018 through 2022. Contributions beyond 2022 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 Group, Inc. is unable to estimate the timing of payments for these items.


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The State Settlement Agreements and related legal fee payments, and payments for FDA user fees, as discussed below and in Note 18, are excluded from the table above, as the payments are subject to adjustment for several factors, including inflation, operating income, market share and industry volume. Litigation escrow deposits, as discussed below and in Note 18, 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 18, 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. 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 Group, Inc.’s subsidiaries account for the cost of the State Settlement Agreements and FDA user fees as a component of cost of sales. Altria Group, Inc.’s subsidiaries recorded approximately $4.7 billion, $4.9 billion and $4.8 billion of charges to cost of sales for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, 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 18.
Based on current agreements, 2017 market share and historical annual industry volume decline rates, the estimated amounts that Altria Group, Inc.’s subsidiaries may charge to cost of sales for payments related to State Settlement Agreements and FDA user fees approximate $4.8 billion in 2018 and 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, 2017, PM USA had posted various forms of security totaling approximately $61 million, the majority of which have been collateralized with cash deposits. These cash deposits 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 Group, Inc. in a particular fiscal quarter or fiscal year, as more fully disclosed in Note 18, Item 3 and Item 1A, management expects cash flow from operations, together with Altria Group, Inc.’s access to capital markets, to provide sufficient liquidity to meet ongoing business needs.
Equity and Dividends
As discussed in Note 11. Stock Plans to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8, during 2017 Altria Group, Inc. granted an aggregate of 0.6 million restricted stock units and 0.2 million performance stock units to eligible employees.
At December 31, 2017, the number of shares to be issued upon vesting of restricted stock units and performance stock units was not significant.
Dividends paid in 2017 and 2016 were approximately $4.8 billion and $4.5 billion, respectively, an increase of 6.5%, reflecting a higher dividend rate, partially offset by fewer shares outstanding as a result of shares repurchased by Altria Group, Inc. under its share repurchase program.
During the third quarter of 2017, the Board of Directors approved an 8.2% increase in the quarterly dividend rate to $0.66 per share of Altria Group, Inc. common stock versus the previous rate of $0.61 per share. Altria Group, Inc. expects to continue to maintain a dividend payout ratio target of approximately 80% of its adjusted diluted EPS. The current annualized dividend rate is $2.64 per share. Future dividend payments remain subject to the discretion of the Board of Directors.
At December 31, 2017, Altria Group, Inc. had approximately $18 million remaining in the July 2015 share repurchase program, which it subsequently completed in January 2018. In January 2018, the Board of Directors authorized a new $1.0 billion share repurchase program, which Altria Group, Inc. expects to complete by the end of 2018. For further discussion of Altria Group, Inc.’s share repurchase programs, see Note 10. 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.
Recent Accounting Guidance Not Yet Adopted
See Note 2 for a discussion of recently issued accounting guidance applicable to, but not yet adopted by, Altria Group, Inc.
In addition, in February 2018, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2018-02, Income Statement - Reporting Comprehensive Income (Topic 220): Reclassification of Certain Tax Effects from Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (“ASU No. 2018-02”). Under ASU No. 2018-02, an entity may elect to reclassify the income tax effects of the Tax Reform Act on items within accumulated other comprehensive income to retained earnings. ASU No. 2018-02 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, and interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption is permitted in any interim period for which


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financial statements have not yet been issued. The guidance in ASU No. 2018-02 should be applied either in the period of adoption or retrospectively to each period (or periods) in which the effect of the change in the U.S. federal corporate tax rate in the Tax Reform Act is recognized. Altria Group, Inc. is in the process of evaluating the impact of this guidance on its consolidated financial statements and related disclosures.
Contingencies
See Note 18 and Item 3 for a discussion of contingencies.

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.
At December 31, 2017 and 2016, the fair value of Altria Group, Inc.’s total debt was $15.3 billion and $15.1 billion, respectively. The fair value of Altria Group, Inc.’s debt is subject to fluctuations resulting from changes in market interest rates. A 1% increase in market interest rates at December 31, 2017 and 2016 would decrease the fair value of Altria Group, Inc.’s total debt by approximately $1.2 billion for each period. A 1% decrease in market interest rates at December 31, 2017 and 2016 would increase the fair value of Altria Group, Inc.’s total debt by approximately $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively.
Interest rates on borrowings under the Credit Agreement are expected to be based on LIBOR plus a percentage based on the higher of the ratings of Altria Group, Inc.’s long-term senior unsecured debt from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. The applicable percentage based on Altria Group, Inc.’s long-term senior unsecured debt ratings at December 31, 2017 for borrowings under the Credit Agreement was 1.125%. At December 31, 2017, Altria Group, Inc. had no borrowings under the Credit Agreement.


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Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.

Altria Group, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Balance Sheets
(in millions of dollars)
________________________
 
at December 31,
2017

 
2016

Assets
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents
$
1,253

 
$
4,569

Receivables
142

 
151

Inventories:
 
 
 
Leaf tobacco
941

 
892

Other raw materials
170

 
164

Work in process
560

 
512

Finished product
554

 
483

 
2,225

 
2,051

Income taxes
461

 
269

Other current assets
263

 
220

Total current assets
4,344

 
7,260

 
 
 
 
Property, plant and equipment, at cost:
 
 
 
Land and land improvements
302

 
316

Buildings and building equipment
1,437

 
1,481

Machinery and equipment
2,975

 
2,917

Construction in progress
165

 
121

 
4,879

 
4,835

Less accumulated depreciation
2,965

 
2,877

 
1,914

 
1,958

 
 
 
 
Goodwill
5,307

 
5,285

Other intangible assets, net
12,400

 
12,036

Investment in AB InBev
17,952

 
17,852

Finance assets, net
899

 
1,028

Other assets
386

 
513

Total Assets
$
43,202

 
$
45,932


See notes to consolidated financial statements.


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

at December 31,
2017

 
2016

Liabilities
 
 
 
Current portion of long-term debt
$
864

 
$

Accounts payable
374

 
425

Accrued liabilities:
 
 
 
Marketing
695

 
747

Employment costs
188

 
289

Settlement charges
2,442

 
3,701

Other
971

 
1,025

Dividends payable
1,258

 
1,188

Total current liabilities
6,792

 
7,375

 
 
 
 
Long-term debt
13,030

 
13,881

Deferred income taxes
5,247

 
8,416

Accrued pension costs
445

 
805

Accrued postretirement health care costs
1,987

 
2,217

Other liabilities
283

 
427

Total liabilities
27,784

 
33,121

Contingencies (Note 18)

 

Redeemable noncontrolling interest
38

 
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
5,952

 
5,893

Earnings reinvested in the business
42,251

 
36,906

Accumulated other comprehensive losses
(1,897
)
 
(2,052
)
Cost of repurchased stock
(904,702,125 shares at December 31, 2017 and
862,689,093 shares at December 31, 2016)
(31,864
)
 
(28,912
)
Total stockholders’ equity attributable to Altria Group, Inc.
15,377

 
12,770

Noncontrolling interests
3

 
3

Total stockholders’ equity
15,380

 
12,773

Total Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity
$
43,202

 
$
45,932

 
See notes to consolidated financial statements.




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Altria Group, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Earnings
(in millions of dollars, except per share data)
____________________________________
 
for the years ended December 31,
2017

 
2016

 
2015

Net revenues
$
25,576

 
$
25,744

 
$
25,434

Cost of sales
7,543

 
7,746

 
7,740

Excise taxes on products
6,082