US drinks giant Beam said yesterday that sales of its Irish brand, Kilbeggan Whiskey, were down 26 per cent in the first half of the year.
Kilbeggan is one of the brands it acquired in its €73 million takeover of Cooley Distillery in January 2012. The group said in January that the whiskey had contributed to sales growth in the last year.
Performance figures for its brands published yesterday with its interim accounts pointed to the lower Kilbeggan sales. The group’s interim statement makes no direct reference to the performance of the Irish brand, however, and there was nobody available to comment.
Illinois-based maker Beam reported a higher than expected quarterly profit yesterday, 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.
Net sales rose 7 per cent to $637.6 million, topping analysts’ average estimate of $628.6 million.
The company said its board authorised a plan to buy back up to 3 million shares of its stock. – Additional reporting: Reuters