• Q1 like-for-like net profits jump by 22.6% to US$103.5m
  • Net sales in three months to end of March rise by 8.2% to $577.7m
  • Operating profits up by over a third, by 36.5% to $179m
  • North America sales rise by 7%, Asia Pacific & South America fall by 7%
Beam Inc hailed a strong start to 2013

Beam Inc hailed a strong start to 2013

Beam Inc has posted a healthy start to 2013, with North America propping up Asia Pacific and South America in the first quarter.

The US-based spirits company said earlier today (2 May) that like-for-like net profits in the three months to the end of March leapt by 22.6% to US$103.5m, on the back of an 8.2% lift in net sales. Operating profits were also strong, jumping by 36.5% to $179m.

In sales terms, the North America region was up by 7%, while Asia Pacific & South America was down by 7%. The Europe, the Middle East & Africa regions collectively were up by 1% in sales.

The company blamed tough comparatives for the poor sales performance in Asia Pacific & South America, as well as a drop in sales in India "as the company repositions its business there".

In volume terms, Beam's seven 'Power Brands' slipped by 2%, with Courvoisier plunging by 29% year-on-year and Teacher's dropping by 20%. Maker's Mark appears to have been unaffected by its abv reduction furore earlier this year, with volumes in the quarter leaping by 44%. Of Beam's eight 'Rising Stars' brands, which were up collectively by 20%, Skinnygirl led the field with a 140% increase in volumes.

“We’re pleased with Beam’s strong start to 2013,” said president & CEO Matt Shattock. “Even as we lapped our most challenging quarterly sales growth comparison of the year, our brands sustained their momentum in the marketplace and continued to outperform.

“We delivered better-than-expected leverage at the bottom line, which we anticipate will reverse in the next couple of quarters. Margins benefited from factors we called out last quarter: the timing of raw materials-related costs, favourable product mix, and the carryover benefit of previously implemented price increases."

Shattock also highlighted that "an advertising shift to the second and third quarters” helped the bottom line in Q1.

Beam also re-affirmed its full-year forecast of high-single-digit growth in diluted EPS before charges/gains for 2013.

To read the company's official statement, click here.

For a closer look at Beam's Q1 numbers, click here.