Deerfield, Illinois, October 23, 2009 - Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO), the company behind leading consumer brands including Jim Beam, Titleist and Moen, today reported results for the third quarter of 2009. Net sales for the third quarter were $1.72 billion, down 11%, reflecting flat sales for the company's spirits business, and more moderate revenue decreases for the golf and home products brands. Diluted earnings per share were $0.82, and excluding one-time items, diluted EPS before charges/gains was $0.77.
Given its third-quarter performance and signs of stabilization in the U.S. new-home construction market, the company raised the bottom end of its full-year earnings target range. The company is now targeting to deliver EPS before charges/gains for 2009 of $2.10-2.30 versus its previous target of $2.00-2.30.
"Despite the challenges of the global economy and the overall U.S. housing market, Fortune Brands continued to deliver results and operating margins at the forefront of our categories," said Bruce Carbonari, chairman and chief executive officer of Fortune Brands. "Each of our businesses performed at or above our expectations in the quarter.
"Consumers are clearly remaining cautious, but our innovative new-product programs, trusted brands and compelling value propositions are helping us compete successfully in the marketplace," Carbonari continued. "In the third quarter, we also remained focused on our successful initiatives to reduce cost structures, improve global supply chains and enhance our cash position. These initiatives are benefiting Fortune Brands and helping position the company for future growth.
"Spirits sales were flat in the quarter, benefiting from higher sales of Jim Beam bourbon and Canadian Club whisky, the Cruzan acquisition, and strong growth in emerging markets, offset by soft results in other international markets," Carbonari added. The company's spirits revenues also benefited from previously disclosed required accounting for the company's route-to-market initiatives, largely offset by unfavorable foreign exchange. "Amidst signs the U.S. housing downturn is decelerating, our share-gain initiatives across product categories helped sales in our home products business decline at a more moderate pace than in the prior two quarters. And in golf, we outperformed the industry with successful new products and double-digit constant-currency sales gains in Europe and Korea that partly offset a double-digit decrease in the United States," said Carbonari. Notable new products contributing to the company's results included the first full quarter of Red Stag by Jim Beam, eco-friendly Moen faucets, energy-efficient Simonton windows, innovative Master Lock products, the new Titleist Pro V1 family of golf balls, and the Titleist 909 series of drivers, fairways and hybrid clubs.
Operating income in the spirits business reflected the impact of previously disclosed costs associated with the company's route-to-market initiatives. In both the home products and golf segments, operating income reflected adverse operating leverage, tempered by the impact of lower cost structures in these businesses.
For the third quarter of 2009:
Raising Low End of Earnings Target & Reaffirming Free Cash Flow Target
"Looking to the balance of 2009, we now believe EPS before charges/gains will be in the range of $2.10-2.30 for 2009, as compared to our previous target of $2.00-2.30," Carbonari continued. "While we are encouraged by the continued stability of our spirits business and signs of stabilization in new-home construction, we anticipate that consumers will remain cautious in the months ahead, and that the overall home products market - particularly for big-ticket remodeling purchases - will continue to be challenging into 2010. In addition, our fourth quarter results will also reflect the impact of adverse operating leverage in the seasonally small quarter for golf and home products, as well as a double-digit year-over-year boost in brand investment behind key spirits brands." The company also reaffirmed its 2009 target to generate free cash flow in the range of $400 million after dividends and net capital expenditures. Benefiting from factors including its free-cash-flow initiatives and bond issuance in June, the company is now in an undrawn position on its existing revolving credit facility and remains in a strong liquidity position.
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 hardware, 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 and DeKuyper cordials. Home and hardware brands 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 sold by units of Fortune Brands Home & Hardware LLC. Acushnet Company's golf brands include Titleist, Cobra 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.
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This press release contains statements relating to future results, which are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Readers are cautioned that these forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof, and the company does not assume any obligation to update, amend or clarify them to reflect events, new information or circumstances occurring after the date of this release. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to: general economic conditions, including the U.S. housing and remodeling market; competitive market pressures (including pricing pressures); customer defaults and related bad debt expense; consolidation of trade customers; successful development of new products and processes; ability to secure and maintain rights to intellectual property; risks pertaining to strategic acquisitions and joint ventures, including the potential financial effects and performance of such acquisitions or joint ventures, and integration of acquisitions and the related confirmation or remediation of internal controls over financial reporting; changes related to the company's spirits business organization, including its U.S. and international distribution structure; ability to attract and retain qualified personnel; weather; risks associated with doing business outside the United States, including currency exchange rate risks; commodity and energy price volatility; costs of certain employee and retiree benefits and returns on pension assets; dependence on performance of distributors and other marketing arrangements; the impact of excise tax increases on distilled spirits; changes in golf equipment regulatory standards and other regulatory developments; potential liabilities, costs and uncertainties of litigation; impairment in the carrying value of goodwill or other acquired intangibles; historical consolidated financial statements that may not be indicative of future conditions and results; interest rate fluctuations; volatility of financial and credit markets, which could affect access to capital for the company, its customers and consumers; any possible downgrades of the company's credit ratings; as well as other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information
This press release includes measures not derived in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"), such as diluted earnings per share before charges/gains, operating income before charges/gains, comparable net sales, return on equity before charges/gains, return on invested capital before charges/gains, and free cash flow. These measures should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for any measure derived in accordance with GAAP, and may also be inconsistent with similar measures presented by other companies. Reconciliation of these measures to the most closely comparable GAAP measures, and reasons for the company's use of these measures, are presented in the attached pages.