Monday, March 14, 2011

Jack Daniel's sales propel maker's 3Q earnings reports

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Liquor company Brown-Forman Corp. posted a 30 percent increase in its third-quarter profit on Tuesday, beating Wall Street estimates on the strength of surging international sales and a robust showing by its flagship Jack Daniel’s brand.

The Louisville-based company also raised its full-year earnings outlook and reported improving results in the United States, where the economic downturn has made consumers less inclined to venture out to drink at bars and restaurants.
The maker of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and Southern Comfort reported net income of $140.7 million, or 96 cents per share, in the three months ending Jan. 31. That’s up from $107.9 million, or 73 cents per share, a year earlier.

Net revenue rose 12 percent to $962.4 million from $861.7 million a year ago.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of 86 cents per share on revenue of $881.9 million for the quarter.

The company raised its full-year earnings outlook to a range of $3.35 to $3.45 per share, up from its previous projected range of $3.18 to $3.42 per share. The upgraded forecast excludes the estimated gain of 20 cents to 30 cents per share from its recently announced sale of Fetzer Vineyards. Analysts expected adjusted earnings of $3.08 a share.

For the first nine months of its fiscal year, Brown-Forman reported net income of $406.1 million, or $2.77 a share, up from $376.5 million, or $2.53 a share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $2.61 billion from $2.49 billion.

Brown-Forman said higher net revenue for the first nine months of its fiscal year has been led by strong showings in numerous international markets including Australia, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Turkey, Germany, France and Brazil.

The surge more than offset soft performances in the United States and Russia, it said. The company added that recent U.S. sales trends are showing signs of improvement.

“We continue to be pleased with our broad-based growth encompassing both developed and emerging international markets,” Brown-Forman CEO Paul Varga said in a statement.

He said the third-quarter performance showed accelerated growth from the first half of the company’s fiscal year, led by the Jack Daniel’s brands and el Jimador.
Brown-Forman said its Jack Daniel’s lineup of brands had a 9 percent gain in net revenue for the first nine months. The Jack Daniels’ ready-to-drink products posted a 22 percent gain, based on a constant currency basis.

The company’s flagship el Jimador teliqua brand posted a 15 percent gain in net revenue for the nine months, also on a constant currency basis.

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