• H1 net profits up by 5% to US$187.4m
  • Sales increase by 7.6% to $1.21bn
  • Operating profits jump by 32.4%  to $337.3m
  • North America net sales up by 7% but Asia Pacific/South America down 5%
  • Skinnygirl sales fall by 23%
Beam is under investigation in India

Beam is under investigation in India

Beam Inc's sales of Bourbon in the US have helped the company post solid increases in first-half profits and sales, but its Scotch struggles continue in India.

Net profits in the six months to the end of June increased by 5% to US$187.4m, the Kentucky-based company said today (8 August). Net sales in the half-year climbed by 7.6% to $1.21bn over the same period while operating profits jumped by 32.4% to $337.3m.

Second-quarter results were less strong, with net profits in the three-month period falling by 26.5%, as an early debt pay-off of $43.1m hit the bottom line. However, net sales were up by 6.8% and operating profits climbed by 26.7%.

Sales were up in all Beam's regions except for Asia Pacific/South America, where they fell by 5% in H1 and by 3% in Q2. The company said a repositioning of its business in India was to blame for the fall. Authorities in India have launched a probe into alleged breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act within Beam's unit in the country.

Teacher's, which before the probe was India's biggest-selling Scotch whisky brand, saw sales fall by 17% in today's H1 results.

Skinnygirl was also on a downward slide after posting a 140% sales growth in Q1. First-half sales were down by 23%, with Beam CEO Matt Shattock citing “soft conditions” in the US ready-to-serve cocktails category.

Shattock said the Jim Beam portfolio found double-digit sales growth in the US and Europe because of extensions Jim Beam Tennessee Honey and Devil’s Cut.

He added: “At mid-year, we feel good about our strength in fast-growing segments like Bourbon, the breadth of our premium portfolio, the success of our innovation engine and our global footprint. Consumer demand for our Bourbon brands around the world continued to grow at very encouraging rates, our premium innovations added to profitable growth, and we’ve grown sales in each of our largest markets.”

Looking ahead, Shattock said he believes the company will continue to outperform the global market.

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

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

To read just-drinks' coverage of a conference call held with Beam CEO Matt Shattock, click here 

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