Beam profit beats Street; stock buyback set

Thu Aug 8, 2013 8:23am EDT

(Reuters) - Alcoholic drinks maker Beam Inc BEAM.N reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by new products such as Jim Beam Honey bourbon, and announced a stock buyback.

The company, which also makes Sauza tequila and Pinnacle vodka, stood by its full-year earnings target, even though it now expects foreign exchange to reduce profit by 5 cents per share, or 2 percentage points of growth. Its target calls for earnings per share before one-time items to grow at a high single-digit rate from the $2.40 it earned in 2012.

In the second quarter, net income was $74.3 million, or 46 cents per share, down from $101.1 million, or 62 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items involving the early extinguishment of debt, earnings per share rose 8 percent to 64 cents. On that basis, analysts on average were expecting 60 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales rose 7 percent to $637.6 million, topping analysts' average estimate of $628.6 million.

The company said its board authorized a plan to buy back up to 3 million shares of its stock.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace)

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