Brown-Forman raises forecast

By @ibtimes on

Brown-Forman Corp , the maker of Jack Daniel's whiskey, posted a stronger-than-expected 30 percent increase in quarterly profit helped by strong demand in emerging markets, and it raised its full-year outlook.

The company also said it was seeing improvement in the United States, which had been a weaker market.

Net income was $140.7 million, or 96 cents a share, in the fiscal third quarter, compared with $107.9 million, or 73 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected 86 cents.

Overall net sales rose 12 percent from last year to $962.4 million, above the $877 million analysts had expected.

The gross profit margin rose to 48.2 percent from 47.7 percent last year.

For the fourth quarter, Brown-Forman expects more growth in sales and gross profits due to the addition of new products such as Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey, which is scheduled to be released in the U.S. market next month, as well as geographic expansion.

However, it said the growth rates would match growth trends year to date rather than the third quarter, which benefited from some retail inventory increases. It also expects selling, general and administrative expenses to moderate significantly as compared with the first nine months.

Brown-Forman also raised its full-year profit outlook to a range of $3.35 to $3.45 a share, excluding one-time items.

In December, it raised its forecast to $3.18 to $3.42 a share. Analysts were expecting $3.31.

The company repeated its forecast of operating income growth in the mid-single digits in fiscal 2011.

Earlier this month Brown-Forman said it agreed to sell its Fetzer winery to Chile's Concha y Toro to focus on higher-margin spirits. It said the sale -- expected to close in April -- would boost 2011 earnings 20 cents to 30 cents per share.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit, Editing by Derek Caney and Maureen Bavdek)

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