Brown-Forman Earnings: An Early Look

Earnings season is winding down, with most companies already having reported their quarterly results. But there are still some companies left to report, and Brown-Forman (NYSE: BF-A  ) (NYSE: BF-B  ) is about to release its quarterly earnings. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks releasing their quarterly reports is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

The spirits business is generally seen as recession-proof, and Brown-Forman is a big player in the space. But can the company keep up with the rapid pace of consolidation in the industry? Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Brown-Forman over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report on Wednesday.

Stats on Brown-Forman

Analyst EPS Estimate

$0.70

Change From Year-Ago EPS

13%

Revenue Estimate

$1.03 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

7.3%

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

2

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will Brown-Forman make investors feel happy this quarter?
Analysts have stood their ground on Brown-Forman over the past few months, keeping their earnings estimates stable on the company. But the stock hasn't been as fortunate, having lost 6% since early December.

Brown-Forman isn't a name most people know, but its Jack Daniel's brand is the fifth largest spirits brand and has the highest sales volume of any American whiskey in the world. The company also has other premium spirits, including Finlandia vodka, which has enjoyed strong growth in emerging markets and is the top imported vodka in Russia.

Brown-Forman has tried to promote growth through new product innovations, especially in areas like flavored whiskey, where the company has dominant market share over competitors Diageo (NYSE: DEO  ) and Beam (NYSE: BEAM  ) despite their having introduced their own flavored-spirits variants. But merger and acquisition activity has also risen in the industry, with Anheuser-Busch seeking to find a way to make its buyout of Grupo Modelo pass regulatory muster that will involve spirits and beer maker Constellation Brands.

What makes Brown-Forman stand out is its attitude toward not just its investors but all of its stakeholders. The company made the Fool's list of the 25 best companies in America in part because of its spurring of responsible drinking initiatives, corporate giving, and positive employee experience.

In its quarterly report, watch closely for Brown-Forman to discuss the impact of growth moves like its decision to establish a distribution company in France as of the beginning of 2014. Signs that Europe may be rebounding would only be good news for Brown-Forman in its quest for faster global growth.

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