Alcoholic Beverage Maker Brown-Foreman 2Q Profit Misses Wall Street

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Jack Daniel’s whiskey maker Brown-Foreman (NYSE:BFA) reported Thursday a slightly weaker-than-expected second-quarter profit, as route-to-market changes lifted expenses, unable to be offset by tepid sales.

The Louisville, KY-based company posted net income of $147.3 million, or 99 cents a share, up about 5% from $154 million, or $1.06 a share, in the same quarter last year.

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Results for the period ended Oct. 31 fell just below average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of $1 a share.

Revenue for the maker of alcoholic beverages, including Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Five Rivers Wines, Southern Comfort and Herradura Tequila, was $892.9 million, up 1% from $905.7 million a year ago, missing the Street’s view of $917.6 million.

Brown-Foreman CEO Paul Varga said the company is “pleased” with its “continued growth” through the first half of the year, “particularly the growth in underlying gross profit attributable to our international growth.”

Sales were fueled in various markets across the world, particularly Australia, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany and Turkey, more than offsetting softer performance in the US and Russia.

Earnings took a hit from higher expenses that derived from changes to its route-to-market in Germany, Brazil, Canada and Russia, however Varga said those initiatives are expected to “further enhance” the company’s ability to deliver long-term growth.

Based on its success so far, Brown-Foreman said it has “more confidence” in its outlook for the remainder of the year, now expecting fiscal 2011 earnings in the range of $3.18 to $3.42 a share, up from its earlier forecast of $2.98 to $3.38 a share.

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