Consumer products conglomerate Fortune Brands Inc reported sharply higher quarterly earnings on Friday, helped by lower expenses, and said its plan to separate is on track.

The maker of Jim Beam bourbon, Moen faucets and Titleist golf balls said 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.

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.

The company said the process is on track for completion in the second half of 2011.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)