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Philip Morris (PM) Buys Fertin Pharma, Announces Dividend Hike

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Philip Morris International Inc. PM is committed toward becoming a majority smoke-free company by 2025. The company is also on track to generate at least $1 billion in annual net revenues from the "Beyond Nicotine" products by that time. Keeping along these lines, Philip Morris announced the buyout of a well-known developer as well as manufacturer of well-being and pharmaceutical products — Fertin Pharma A/S ("Fertin Pharma"). The transaction is priced at an enterprise value of nearly $820 million. In a separate release, the company announced a dividend hike, reflecting its commitment toward shareholders.

Fertin Pharma – a Prudent Addition

With the help of Fertin Pharma’s impressive technologies, solid capabilities and capable workforce, Philip Morris expects to make innovative oral delivery products. The acquisition will accelerate the company’s presence in the rapidly-growing modern oral category. Philip Morris can leverage Fertin Pharma’s oral delivery platforms to develop self-care wellness items like over-the-counter solutions and supplements. Fertin Pharma, which generated net revenues of almost $160 million in 2020, will now operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Philip Morris. Management does not expect to record any material impact of the buyout on the company’s 2021 adjusted earnings per share.

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Zacks Investment Research

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Shareholder Friendly Moves

Philip Morris is focused on enhancing shareholders’ value through dividend payouts and share buyback programs. The company increased its quarterly dividend by 4.2% to an annualized rate of $5 per share. Management declared quarterly dividend of $1.25 per share, up from $1.20 per share paid the last time. The newly-announced dividend is payable on Oct 14, 2021, to shareholders of record as of Sep 29. Philip Morris has a dividend payout of 82.5%, dividend yield of 4.6% and free cash flow yield of 6.3%. With an annual free cash flow return on investment of 58.1% compared with the industry’s 16.5%, the hiked dividend payment is likely to be sustainable.

Apart from this, the company recently approved a new share repurchase program of up to $7 billion. Per the program, Philip Morris targets to spend $5-7 billion over a three-year period, commencing from third-quarter 2021.

Wrapping Up

Philip Morris is leaving no stone unturned to transform itself into a company that puts health and wellbeing in the forefront and have a positive impact on the society. The Fertin Pharma buyout is in sync with Philip Morris’ vision to create a portfolio of smoke-free products. The move will help the company to expand its business in selfcare wellness areas to generate a net positive impact on society.

Shares of the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 25.6% so far this year compared with the industry’s rise of 15.1%.

Top 3 Consumer Staple Picks

Vector Group Ltd. VGR, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 73%, on average. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Medifast, Inc. MED, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 16%, on average.

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Philip Morris International Inc. (PM) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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