Brown-Forman Lags Profit Estimate and Beats on Sales

Brown-Forman, producer of liquor including Jack Daniel's, missed earnings estimates but sales were stronger than expected.
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Brown-Forman  (BF.B) - Get Report missed Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings expectations but beat sales projections, as off-premise and e-premise sales helped the Jack Daniel's maker offset the impact of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

The Class B shares of the Louisville, Ky., company at last check were down 2.9% near $66.

For the quarter ended April 30, Brown-Forman, whose brands also include Finlandia and Korbel, reported net income of $128 million, or 27 cents a share, down from $159 million, or 33 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter.

The latest result missed FactSet's consensus forecast of 28 cents a share. 

Sales slipped 5% to $709 million but came in ahead of FactSet's call for sales of $682 million. 

For the quarter, Brown-Forman posted a non-cash brand-name impairment charge of $13 million, or 2 cents a share, related to Chambord, a super-premium liqueur. 

This brand has "a significant on-premise presence," the company said, and is expected to be considerably hurt by the closures and restrictions enacted in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Full-year sales were essentially flat at $3.4 billion, the company said, "in a year marked by significant disruption."

Jane Morreau, the company’s chief financial officer, said in a statement that the coronavirus outbreak began to affect the company's performance in the middle of March. The damage continued through April as both on-premise, representing about 20% of global business, and travel retail channels "essentially came to a halt." 

Morreau said "country lockdowns and government restrictions took hold, reflecting both an increase in at-home consumption and some pantry loading."

Brown-Forman said it "faces substantial uncertainty related to the evolving covid-19 pandemic and its effect on the global economy." 

As a result "the company is not able to provide quantitative guidance for fiscal year 2021 at this time."