Consumer goods maker Fortune Brands Inc posted a sharply higher quarterly profit that topped Wall Street's expectations, helped by strength across all its businesses, and said its plan to separate was on track.

The maker of Jim Beam bourbon, Moen faucets and Titleist golf balls said all three of its businesses performed above its expectations, and its shares rose nearly 5 percent in premarket trading.

Net income was $85.4 million, or 55 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, compared with $11.5 million, or 8 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, earnings were 63 cents per share, topping the analysts' average estimate of 58 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Fortune said in December that it planned to spin off its home goods unit and sell or spin off its golf unit, amid pressure from activist investor William Ackman, raising the odds for a takeover of the parts.

We are moving forward with our intention to become a focused high-return spirits business and to enact a tax-free spinoff to shareholders of our strong home and security business, Chief Executive Officer Bruce Carbonari said in a statement.

Fortune said the separation process was on track for completion in the second half of 2011.

It expects 2011 earnings before items to rise at a percentage rate in the high single-digit to high-teens range, minus the impact from separating the business.

Quarterly net sales were $1.90 billion, up 5 percent from a year earlier and topping the analysts' average estimate of $1.8 billion. By business, sales rose 6 percent in drinks, 2 percent in home and security, and 10 percent in golf.

Shares of Fortune were up 4.8 percent at $64.50 in trading before the market opened.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Derek Caney and Lisa Von Ahn)