Spirits maker Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF.B) reported earnings on Wednesday. Here's what you need to know about the company's recent performance.
Brown-Forman's fiscal fourth-quarter organic net sales grew 3% to $893 million, while fiscal year 2014 sales grew 4% to nearly $4 billion. The maker of Finlandia and Jack Daniel's profits jumped by 17% to $0.62 per share for the quarter, and 11% to $3.06 per share for fiscal 2014. The alcoholic beverage maker expected earnings of approximately $3 per share for its fiscal year. Shares of the company traded flat following the announcement.
American whiskey spikes growth
Premium bourbon and Tennessee whiskey sales drove U.S. spirits exports to record-setting highs in 2013, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. Brown-Forman knows this and is hinging its future success on the surging popularity of brown liquor. The Louisville-based company enjoyed solid growth in many of its key brands, including an 8% jump in Jack Daniel's trademark brand during fiscal 2014. Jack Daniel's innovative Tennessee Honey sold one million cases during that same period and is now the 20th largest brand priced over $25 per bottle. The popular Jack Daniel's brand has attained a spot on the Interbrand Best Global Brands list every year since its 2000 inception, and it climbed 7% in brand value last year. Brown-Forman's super and ultra-premium whiskey brands also spiked growth. Underlying sales grew by 19%, including a mouthwatering 26% jump from Woodford Reserve.
Recipe for future growth
Emerging markets are where Brown-Forman sees it greatest growth opportunities. Jack Daniel's has enjoyed explosive growth in Latin America, while its Finlandia is the No. 1 imported premium vodka brand in Russia. In light of a slowdown in several emerging market economies, Brown-Forman posted 9% sales growth in emerging markets during fiscal 2014. Particularly strong performers included Brazil, Turkey, and Russia, which brought in 44%, 32%, and 23% underlying net sales growth, respectively.
What's ahead for 2015
The spirits maker expects 6% to 8% net sales growth for fiscal 2015, driven by the continued expansion of the Jack Daniel's trademark globally, including both Tennessee Whiskey and Tennessee Honey. Brown-Forman also expects other brands like Woodford Reserve whiskey, Herradura tequila, and Finlandia vodka to help drive sales growth.
Brown-Forman's commitment to leverage its great brands and successfully increase its presence in emerging markets is reflected in the company's strong quarterly and fiscal year results. For the patient, long-term investor, Brown-Forman offers a lot to be giddy about.