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Brown-Forman Reports Strong Third Quarter Results And Updates Full Year Outlook

Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE:BFA) (NYSE:BFB) today reported financial results for its third quarter and the first nine months of fiscal 2013 ended January 31, 2013. Reported net sales increased 7% in the quarter 1 to $1,027 million (+8% on an underlying basis 2). Reported net sales growth was negatively impacted by the absence of Hopland-based wines, offset by favorable foreign exchange. Reported operating income increased 15% in the quarter to $237 million (+14% on an underlying basis). Diluted earnings per share in the quarter increased 18% to $0.73 compared to $0.62 in the prior year period.

For the first nine months of the year, reported net sales increased 4% (+8% on an underlying basis), reported operating income increased 13% (+13% on an underlying basis), and diluted earnings per share increased 18% to $2.22 compared to $1.89 in the prior year period.

Paul Varga, the company’s chief executive officer said, “We continue to be pleased with our top-tier results in this well-performing industry. Our third quarter and year-to-date results reflect the excellent geographic breadth of our company, as well as improved portfolio and volume/margin balance. Given the momentum we observe today for the North American whiskey category, emerging markets, and premium-priced spirits generally, we believe Brown-Forman is positioned well for continued strong growth."

Year-to-Date 2013 Highlights

  • Underlying net sales increased 8%, driven by broad-based geographic gains and brand strength, with constant currency net sales 3 up 5%
    • Price/mix contributed three points to net sales growth
    • Jack Daniel’s family of brands grew net sales 10%
    • The company’s super and ultra-premium whiskey brands grew net sales 19%
    • El Jimador’s family of brands grew net sales 7%
    • Finlandia’s family of brands grew net sales 5%
  • Underlying operating income increased 13%, driven by strong top-line growth, gross margin expansion, and operating expense leverage

Year-to-Date 2013 Performance

The company’s underlying sales growth of 8% was driven by its premium skew of brands and strong global demand for North American whiskeys. Company-wide price/mix contributed approximately three points of year-to-date sales growth, while volumes continued to grow at a mid-single-digit rate. This balanced revenue growth allowed the company to more than offset inflationary pressures, driving gross margins up by 240bps. Gross margins also benefited from the absence of Hopland-based wines and lower costs associated with reductions in value-added packaging.

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