DEERFIELD, IL –Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO), the company behind leading consumer brands including Jim Beam, Titleist and Moen, today reported results for the first quarter of 2011.

“In our Beam spirits business, we plan to sustain our double-digit increase in brand investment to build our brands as we deliver and support innovations like Pucker Flavored Vodka, Jim Beam Devil’s Cut and Red Stag, and develop our most promising global markets.”
* Net sales increased 8% with growth in all three business units.
* Diluted earnings per share were $0.52, and diluted earnings per share before charges/gains reached $0.59, up 20% from $0.49 in the year-ago quarter.
* Results benefited from the startup impact of a new spirits distribution agreement in Australia, as well as higher volumes and favorable foreign exchange across the businesses. These benefits were partly offset by divestitures, higher year-over-year commodities costs and planned increases in brand investment.

The company also announced that it is now targeting to complete the previously announced separation of its businesses early in the fourth quarter.

“Fortune Brands continued to deliver strong growth in sales and earnings as each of our three businesses outperformed their respective markets in the quarter,” said Bruce Carbonari, chairman and chief executive officer of Fortune Brands. “Our businesses are pursuing strategies designed to outperform their markets and they’re executing at a high level. As a result, we’re on track to deliver another year of strong earnings growth in 2011.
* “Our Beam spirits business delivered mid-single-digit comparable sales growth excluding the benefit of an initial sale of inventory related to the establishment of an enhanced Australia distribution agreement with Coca-Cola Amatil. On this basis, our global Power Brands grew at a high-single-digit rate, driven by strong growth for Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Courvoisier and Teacher’s. The company outperformed key markets including the U.S., U.K., Spain, Germany, Australia and India. Comparable operating income grew at a low-single-digit rate, as expected, reflecting our double-digit increase in brand investment to support new product launches and long-term brand-building initiatives. We’re also pleased that we added the Skinnygirl cocktails brand to our portfolio in the quarter.
* “Against the challenging comparison of a double-digit sales increase in the year-ago quarter, sales for Fortune Brands Home & Security rose 2% in a market that was softer than anticipated. Results included strong gains from new cabinetry business we’ve earned and growth for Master Lock security products. These gains more than offset modest decreases for faucets and advanced materials windows and doors, categories that faced particularly challenging comparisons to strong growth in the year-ago quarter. Operating income in Home & Security reflected higher costs for commodities and our planned strategic investments to support new business and brand-building programs.
* “Our Acushnet golf business began the year with comparable sales that grew 17% and comparable operating income that grew more than 30%. Sales achieved a first quarter record as successful new products drove strong growth in each product category. Sales for the Titleist brand were sharply higher on very strong initial demand for the new Pro V1 golf balls and 910 metals, while sales of the new DryJoys Tour golf shoes, as well as gloves and performance outerwear, drove robust growth for FootJoy.

“We’re performing very well in the marketplace across our consumer categories, and we’re building on our competitive strengths as we position our businesses to create even greater value as independent companies,” Carbonari continued. “Each of our businesses has a powerful strategy, a proven management team, and prospects for strong growth and returns and strong capital structures. We are now targeting that our proposed separation plan – to spin-off Home & Security, to either sell or spin-off Acushnet, and to move forward as a strong pure-play spirits company – will be approved and completed by early in the fourth quarter.”

For the first quarter of 2011:
* Net income was $81.2 million, or $0.52 per diluted share, compared to $0.47 in the year-ago quarter.
o Comparisons reflected the impact of higher net charges in the current-year period, principally related to the company’s previously announced plan to separate its business units.
* Excluding charges and gains in both the current and prior-year periods, diluted EPS was $0.59, up 20% from $0.49 in the year-ago quarter.
* Net sales were $1.76 billion, up 8%.
o On a comparable basis – excluding excise taxes, foreign exchange and acquisitions/divestitures – and further adjusted for the startup benefit of the Australia spirits distribution agreement, total net sales would have been up 6%.
o On this basis, comparable net sales by business unit were: Beam up 5%; Fortune Brands Home & Security up 1%; Acushnet Company up 17%.
* Operating income was $160.5 million.
* Operating income before charges/gains was $177.3 million, up 10%.
* Return on equity before charges/gains was 8%.
* Return on invested capital before charges/gains was 6%.

Outlook: Reaffirming Full-Year Earnings Target

“Looking to the balance of 2011, we continue to expect that the markets for each of our three businesses will grow at a low-single-digit rate, and our first quarter results reinforce our confidence in the prospects for our businesses to outperform their respective markets,” said Carbonari.

“Absent the proposed separation of our businesses, we continue to estimate that diluted EPS before charges/gains for Fortune Brands would grow at a high-single-digit to high-teens rate for the full year. While we expect to benefit from favorable foreign exchange, we expect results will reflect the increased headwind of higher costs for energy and raw materials, as well as our planned higher strategic investments across our businesses to support long-term growth. In addition to these factors, second quarter results will face challenging comparisons as we cycle against 2010 results that benefited by approximately 10-15 cents per share from both the pull-forward in Home & Security sales due to the mid-year expiration of the homebuyer tax credit and the timing of spirits orders. We expect second quarter results will also be impacted by approximately 5 cents due to the natural disaster in Japan and the sale of Cobra in 2010.”
* “In our Beam spirits business, we plan to sustain our double-digit increase in brand investment to build our brands as we deliver and support innovations like Pucker Flavored Vodka, Jim Beam Devil’s Cut and Red Stag, and develop our most promising global markets.”

The company revised its full-year operating income target for Beam, and is now targeting the business to grow operating income before charges at a mid-single-digit rate in 2011 versus its prior target of low-to-mid-single digits. The company expects favorable foreign exchange and the benefit of the Australia distribution agreement to offset higher costs for commodities and the planned increase in brand investment.

* “We expect Fortune Brands Home & Security will continue to outperform on the success of its new business programs, innovative new products, strong customer service, and lean and flexible supply chains,” said Carbonari.

Due to somewhat softer-than-expected market conditions and greater-than-expected commodities cost increases that the company expects to partly offset with selective price increases, the company is now targeting operating income before charges for Home & Security to grow at a mid-single-digit to low-double-digit rate for 2011 versus the prior target in the high-single-digit to high-teens range.

* “In golf, we anticipate continued strong worldwide demand for the iconic Titleist and FootJoy brands, including our outstanding lineup of new-product innovations. For the full year, we expect the impact of lower golf activity in Japan will be offset by strong momentum we’re building for our golf brands in other global markets,” Carbonari said.

The company is continuing to target to significantly outperform the golf market in 2011 and that comparable operating income for Acushnet will grow at a double-digit rate.

The company also reaffirmed that, absent the separation plan, it is targeting to generate free cash flow in the range of $450-525 million for 2011. The company is targeting an earnings-to-free-cash-flow conversion rate of 100% or more.

About Fortune Brands

Fortune Brands, Inc. is a leading consumer brands company. Its operating companies have premier brands and leading market positions in distilled spirits, home and security, and golf products. Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. is the company's premium spirits business. Major spirits brands include Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbon, Sauza tequila, Canadian Club whisky, Courvoisier cognac, Cruzan rum, Teacher's and Laphroaig Scotch, EFFEN vodka, Skinnygirl margarita and DeKuyper cordials. The brands of Fortune Brands Home & Security LLC include Moen faucets, Aristokraft, Omega, Diamond and Kitchen Craft cabinetry, Therma-Tru door systems, Simonton windows, Master Lock security products and Waterloo storage and organization products. Acushnet Company's golf brands include Titleist and FootJoy. Fortune Brands, headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol FO and is included in the S&P 500 Index and the MSCI World Index.

SOURCE: Fortune Brands Inc.

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