Beam's lower profit beats Street by a penny

Fri Feb 1, 2013 8:04am EST

(Reuters) - Beam Inc BEAM.N reported a smaller-than-expected decline in fourth-quarter earnings and gave an optimistic forecast for 2013 as it benefits from high demand for bourbon whiskey and growth in emerging markets.

On a net basis, the maker of Jim Beam, Maker's Mark and Knob Creek bourbons said on Friday that earnings were $126.3 million, or 79 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, up from $88.5 million, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier.

But excluding one-time items, earnings fell 3 percent to 67 cents per share, due to a 20 percent increase in advertising spending during the key holiday season.

On that basis, analysts on average were expecting 66 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales rose 11 percent to $709.1 million.

Excluding the impact of foreign exchange rates, acquisitions and divestitures, sales rose 5 percent fueled by gains of 8 percent in North America and 4 percent in the Europe, Middle East and Africa segment. Sales in the Asia Pacific/South America segment fell 2 percent.

For the new year, Beam said it is aiming for high single-digit growth in earnings-per-share before one-time items.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Chizu Nomiyama)

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