Brown-Forman raises sales, profit targets after 'blistering' fir - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Brown-Forman raises sales, profit targets after 'blistering' first half of fiscal year

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Brown-Forman's headquarters on Dixie Highway in Louisville Brown-Forman's headquarters on Dixie Highway in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Louisville-based Brown-Forman Corp. reported better-than-expected financial results in the three months ended Oct. 31 and raised its projections for sales growth and profits in its full fiscal year.

The report sent the company’s stock up about 5 percent in trading Wednesday.

Brown-Forman grew “underlying net sales” by 14 percent during the first half of the company’s fiscal year, a “blistering” pace that will surely slow in the second half of the year, chief financial officer Jane Morreau said on the company’s quarterly call with stock analysts.

Vivien Azer, an analyst with investment firm Cowen Inc., said the company reported “really standout growth against a tough backdrop.”

Brown-Forman’s best-selling Jack Daniel’s whiskey family grew sales by 7 percent during the first half of the year, while bourbon brands Old Forester and Woodford Reserve grew by 15 percent and Herradura tequila by 19 percent.

Brown-Forman CEO Paul Varga said the company’s strongest growth is coming from countries like Mexico and Poland, as opposed to the more mature U.S. market.

“A nice part of what is happening with us is the bounce back in emerging markets,” he told analysts on the conference call.

Morreau said the company’s Old Forester distillery on Louisville’s Whiskey Row remains on track to open in spring or summer of 2018.

Brown-Forman’s Class B common shares are up about 37 percent so far this year, compared to a 17 percent gain for the S&P 500 Index.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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