Brown-Forman 2nd-quarter profit rises 2 percent

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Liquor maker Brown-Forman Corp. said Thursday that fiscal second-quarter profit rose 2 percent due to higher sales for its flagship Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, and its vodka and tequila brands.

The Louisville, Ky., company, which also sells Southern Comfort and Finlandia vodka, said revenue rose 12 percent in the August-October quarter, but it spent more on advertising to promote new products such as Southern Comfort Fiery Pepper and a honey-flavored Jack Daniel’s. Administrative expenses also rose.

Brown-Forman said gains overseas, particularly in Germany, Mexico, Russia, the U.K. and a few other countries, helped propel sales.

The popular Jack Daniel’s brand led sales gains in the company’s spirits lineup, rising 16 percent in the six months through Oct. 31, when excluding the impact of currency changes. Finlandia vodka sales rose 9 percent, a strong showing for a brand that has posted sluggish sales recently. Southern Comfort-branded alcohol sales fell 7 percent.

The Louisville, Ky., company reported net income of $157.6 million, or $1.09 per share, in the second quarter. That’s up from $154 million, or $1.05 per share, from a year ago.

Revenue increased to $1.01 billion from $905.7 million.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $1.09 per share on revenue of $957.4 million.

But the company said a stronger dollar has tempered earlier profit expectations. It predicts full-year earnings per share of $3.45 to $3.70 from previous guidance of $3.45 to $3.85 per share.

Analysts expect $3.68 per share.

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