WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Brown-Forman Corp. (BFA, BFB), a spirit and wine company, Wednesday said it is raising fiscal 2018 earnings per share forecast range to $1.85 - $1.95 from previously expected $1.80 to $1.90, due to expected full year benefits from tax rate and foreign exchange.
Further, the company reaffirmed its outlook for 6% to 8% underlying operating income growth and 4 percent to 5% underlying net sales growth.
The expected underlying net sales growth would be led by premium American whiskey and tequila brands, including disciplined innovation for Jack Daniel's RTDs, as well as the launch of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Rye and Slane Irish Whiskey.
The company noted that the global economy remains volatile, particularly in the emerging markets, and the competitive landscape has intensified in the developed world, making it difficult to accurately predict future results.
Paul Varga, the company's Chief Executive Officer, said, 'Fiscal 2018 is off to a strong start with 6% growth in underlying net sales and 12% growth in underlying operating income, both metrics representing a nice acceleration versus the company's solid fiscal 2017 underlying results. We continue to foresee growth potential for our brands, most notably in American Whiskey, and accordingly, we intend to invest against this opportunity...'
For the first quarter, net income climbed 24 percent to $178 million from last year's $144 million. Earnings per share of $0.46 increased 27% from $0.36 a year ago.
Operating income increased 14% in the quarter to $244 million.
Sales grew 8 percent to $929 million from $856 million a year ago. Net sales increased 9% to $723 million from $661 million last year. Sales grew 6% on an underlying basis.
Emerging markets continued to improve in the quarter, with net sales up 27%. Developed markets' net sales increased 7 percent.
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