Brown-Forman Reports Fiscal 2016 Results; Expects Continued Underlying Growth in Fiscal 2017
Louisville, KY, June 8, 2016 – Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE:BFA, BFB) reported financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended April 30, 2016. For the fourth quarter, the company’s reported net sales1 declined 1% to $933 million (+4% on an underlying basis2). Reported operating income grew 212% in the fourth quarter to $726 million, or 10% excluding the impact from the sale of Southern Comfort and Tuaca3 (+15% on an underlying basis). Diluted earnings per share increased 291% to $2.60 compared to the prior-year period.
For the full year, reported net sales decreased 2% to $4,011 million (+5% on an underlying basis) as foreign exchange negatively impacted reported net sales growth by six points. Reported operating income grew 49% to $1,533 million, or 3% excluding the impact from the sale (+8% on an underlying basis), and diluted earnings per share increased 63% to $5.22, or 8% to $3.46 excluding the impact from the sale.
Paul Varga, the company’s Chief Executive Officer said, “Fiscal 2016 was another successful year at Brown-Forman. We delivered solid underlying growth in sales and operating income, led by the Jack Daniel’s family of brands. We also made important changes to our portfolio of brands that we believe position us well for the long-term. Against a favorable backdrop of global interest in American whiskey, we invested capital to expand our capacity and we returned approximately $1.4 billion to our shareholders during the year. We believe that our strong free cash flow and capital efficiency positions us to deliver top-tier returns for our shareholders.”
Fiscal 2016 Highlights
• Underlying net sales increased 5%:
◦ Price/mix contributed four percentage points to net sales growth and gross margin grew 10bps
◦ The Jack Daniel’s family of brands grew underlying net sales 6% (-1% reported)
◦ Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey grew underlying net sales 9% (0% reported)
◦ The company’s super- and ultra-premium whiskey brands4 grew underlying net sales double digits, including 28% underlying net sales growth from Woodford Reserve (+29% reported)
◦ Herradura grew underlying net sales 13% (0% reported), el Jimador grew underlying net sales 5% (-5% reported) and New Mix RTDs grew underlying net sales 23% (+2% reported)
◦ Developed markets including the United States grew underlying net sales 6% (+1% reported)
• Underlying operating income increased 8%
• Returned $1.4 billion to shareholders ($1,107 million in buybacks and $266 million in dividends)
• Generated an ROIC5 of 23% and a ten-year TSR6 of over 12%, outpacing the S&P 500’s 7% per year
Fiscal 2016 Performance By Market – Solid Results in Developed Markets
The company’s brands delivered another solid year of growth in developed markets, which helped offset the economic slowdown in the emerging markets and Global Travel Retail. Underlying net sales grew 6% (3% reported) in the United States, 6% (-3% reported) in developed markets outside of the United States, and 4% (-10% reported) in the emerging markets.
Brown-Forman Corporation – Top Ten Countries
Supplemental Information (Unaudited)
Twelve Months Ended April 30, 2016
Country % of Reported Net Sales % Growth in Reported Net Sales % Growth in Underlying Net Sales
United States 46% 3% 6%
United Kingdom 10% 5% 9%
Australia 9% (12)% 2%
Mexico 5% (11)% 6%
Germany 5% (1)% 7%
Poland 3% (12)% 1%
France 3% 6% 13%
Turkey 2% (2)% 17%
Russia 1% (26)% (17)%
Canada 1% (1)% 7%
Top Ten Total 85% (1)% 6%
Other Markets 15% (8)% 0%
Total Worldwide 100% (2)% 5%
Note: Reported net sales growth includes the impact from changes in foreign exchange and inventories; Totals may differ due to rounding.
Sales growth in the United States was powered by the Jack Daniel’s family of brands which grew underlying net sales by mid-single digits. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey continued its upward trajectory, growing to 5.2 million cases, and combined depletions for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and Tennessee Fire surpassed one million cases in the United States. In addition to growing Gentleman Jack’s underlying net sales by 10% in the United States (6% reported), the company sustained a high rate of growth for its premium bourbon brands, including 25% underlying net sales growth (29% reported) for Woodford Reserve and 48% for Old Forester (48% reported). Herradura and el Jimador tequilas grew underlying net sales by high-teens in the United States.
The developed markets outside of the United States experienced an acceleration in their underlying net sales trends compared to fiscal 2015, growing 6% (-3% reported). Western Europe’s underlying net sales jumped high-single digits, as the United Kingdom, Germany and France delivered strong results. New Zealand and Canada continued to grow at a healthy rate, Australia, Japan and Spain each returned to sales growth in the year, but Italy’s sales declined.
While the emerging markets have historically been a significant contributor to our incremental growth, we experienced a marked slowdown during fiscal 2016 as weakening economic conditions and currency devaluations dampened consumer’s purchasing power. Aggregate underlying net sales grew 4% (-10% reported) in the emerging markets. This year was a tale of two halves, with emerging markets growing underlying net sales by 8% in the first half and only 1% in the second half. The emerging markets displayed some signs of stabilization, with the fourth quarter’s rate of growth in-line with the third quarter’s growth. Turkey, Brazil, South Africa and Ukraine each delivered double-digit underlying net sales growth. Russia’s underlying net sales declined 17% and southeast Asia dropped double-digits, led by declines in Indonesia due to recent changes to industry regulation of import duties. Mexico grew underlying net sales 6%, while Poland grew only 1% due to a challenging competitive environment in vodka.
Travel Retail’s underlying net sales decreased 12% (-18% reported). Travel retail’s results were pressured by the decline in spending from travelers, as well as continued volatility in foreign exchange, which has also resulted in weaker consumer demand and a reduction in the historic price gap between travel retail and local economy.
Fiscal 2016 Brand Performance – Growth Led by Jack Daniel’s, Premium Bourbons and Tequilas
The company’s underlying net sales growth was led by the Jack Daniel’s family, up 6% (-1% reported). Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey grew underlying net sales by 4% (-1% reported) despite the slowdown in the emerging markets and Global Travel Retail. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey grew underlying sales by 9% (0% reported), powered by strong growth outside of the United States. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire had a great first full year of results in the United States, contributing roughly one point to the company’s underlying growth. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and Fire depleted a combined 1.9 million cases globally. In fiscal 2017, the company is rolling out Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire to several markets outside of the United States including the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia. Gentleman Jack and Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel surpassed 700,000 case depletions in the year, and grew aggregate underlying net sales by 6% (1% reported). Jack Daniel’s RTD/RTP business grew underlying net sales by 4% (-7% reported).
Brown-Forman’s portfolio of super and ultra-premium whiskey brands, including Woodford Reserve and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, Gentleman Jack, Sinatra Select, No. 27 Gold, and Collingwood, collectively grew underlying net sales by mid-teens. Old Forester’s underlying net sales grew 47% (48% reported), and the Woodford Reserve family of brands grew underlying net sales 28% (+29% reported).
Finlandia vodka experienced a 5% decline in underlying net sales (-16% reported), pulled down by weak results in Poland and Russia. The competitive landscape for premium vodka in Poland remains very challenging while results in Russia have worsened as the economic slowdown and ruble depreciation are negatively impacting consumption.
El Jimador grew underlying net sales by 5% (-5% reported). Strong growth in the United States was offset somewhat by the anticipated volume declines in Mexico associated with the company’s strategic repositioning of the brand at a higher price point through multi-year increases. New Mix’s underlying net sales increase of 23% (+2% reported) continued to benefit from distribution gains and new sizes. Herradura grew underlying net sales by 13% (0% reported) globally, driven by double-digit gains in the United States and Mexico.
Other P&L Items
In fiscal 2016, company-wide price/mix improvements contributed approximately four percentage points of underlying sales growth and helped deliver gross margin expansion of 10bps. Underlying A&P spend increased by 2% (-4% reported). Underlying SG&A increased by 2% (-1% reported), and the company is focused on containing SG&A growth, excluding potential route to market investments.
As of April 30, 2016, total debt was $1,501 million, up from $1,183 million as of April 30, 2015. The increase reflects the issuance of $500 million of 4.5% 30-year senior unsecured notes in June 2015. On January 15, 2016, the company repaid $250 million of 2.5% notes. On March 1, 2016, the company closed on the sale of Southern Comfort and Tuaca for $543 million. On June 1, 2016, the company closed on the acquisition of the GlenDronach, BenRiach, and Glenglassaugh single malt scotch brands for $408 million.
On May 26, 2016, Brown-Forman’s board declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.34 per share on its Class A and Class B common stock. The cash dividend is payable on July 1, 2016 to stockholders of record on June 6, 2016. Brown-Forman has paid regular quarterly cash dividends for 70 consecutive years and has increased the dividend for 32 consecutive years. On May 26, 2016, the Brown-Forman board also approved a two-for-one stock split for all shares of Class A and Class B common stock, to be paid in the form of a stock dividend. Implementation of the stock split is subject to approval of an increase in the number of outstanding share of Class A common stock at the company’s annual meeting of stockholders scheduled to be held on July 28, 2016.
In fiscal 2016, the company also repurchased a record $1.1 billion of shares, comprised of 11.4 million Class A and Class B shares at an average price of $97 per share. When combined with the $266 million of cash dividends paid, the company returned approximately $1.4 billion to shareholders during the year. As of April 30, 2016, the remaining share repurchase authorization totaled $889 million.
Fiscal Year 2017 Outlook
Significant uncertainty around the global economic environment and its potential impact on our business makes it difficult to predict future results. Assuming no further deterioration in the global economy in fiscal 2017, particularly in the emerging markets, the company anticipates:
1. Underlying net sales growth of 4% to 6%, led by our premium American whiskey brands
2. Underlying operating income growth of 7% to 9%
3. Diluted earnings per share of $3.42 to $3.62, which includes expected foreign exchange headwinds of $0.07 given current spot rates, as well as lower distributor inventory levels.
Following is a table that reconciles reported results to the baseline earnings in fiscal 2016:
EPS Roll Forward
Fiscal 2016 Reported EPS (GAAP) $5.22
Impact from sale of Southern Comfort and Tuaca7 $1.76
Fiscal 2016 Reported EPS8 excluding Impact (Non-GAAP) $3.46
Earnings contribution from sold brands $0.20
Adjusted Fiscal 2016 Base EPS $3.26
Fiscal 2017 EPS Outlook $3.42 to $3.62
Conference Call Details
Brown-Forman will host a conference call to discuss the results at 10:00 a.m. (EST) today. All interested parties in the United States are invited to join the conference call by dialing 888-624-9285 and asking for the Brown-Forman call. International callers should dial +1-706-679-3410. The company suggests that participants dial in ten minutes in advance of the 10:00 a.m. (EST) start of the conference call. A live audio broadcast of the conference call will also be available via Brown-Forman’s Internet website, http://localhost/, through a link to “Investors/Events & Presentations.” A digital audio recording of the conference call will also be available on the website two hours after the conclusion of the conference call. The replay will be available for at least 30 days following the conference call.
For more than 145 years, Brown-Forman Corporation has enriched the experience of life by responsibly building fine quality beverage alcohol brands, including Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s & Cola, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, Finlandia, Korbel, el Jimador, Woodford Reserve, Canadian Mist, Herradura, New Mix, Sonoma-Cutrer, Early Times, and Chambord. Brown-Forman’s brands are supported by nearly 4,600 employees and sold in approximately 160 countries worldwide.
1 Percentage growth rates are compared to prior-year periods, unless otherwise noted.
2 We present changes in certain income statement line-items that are adjusted to an “underlying” basis, which we believe assists in understanding both our performance from period to period on a consistent basis and the trends of our business. Non-GAAP “underlying” measures include changes in (a) underlying net sales, (b) underlying gross profit, (c) underlying advertising expenses, (d) underlying selling, general and administrative expenses and (e) underlying operating income. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures for the three-month and twelve-month periods ended April 30, 2016, to the most closely comparable GAAP measure, and the reasons why management believes these adjustments to be useful, are included in Schedule A and B in this press release.
3 On March 1, 2016, the company completed the sale of the Southern Comfort and Tuaca brands. This calculation removes (a) the gain on sale, (b) transaction-related costs, and (c) operating activity for the period that is not comparable.
4 Super/Ultra-premium whiskey brands include the Woodford Reserve family, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, Gentleman Jack, Sinatra Select, No. 27 Gold, and Collingwood.
5 ROIC: Return on invested capital is defined as the sum of net income (excluding the gain on the sale of Southern Comfort and Tuaca) and after-tax interest expense, divided by average invested capital. Invested capital equals assets less liabilities, excluding interest-bearing debt.
6 TSR: Total Shareholder Return is shown as a compound annual growth rate assuming dividends reinvested, and is measured over the ten-year period ending April 30, 2016.
7 Impact from sale of Southern Comfort and Tuaca is primarily related to the $485 million gain on sale.
8 Diluted EPS through January 31, 2016 was $2.65.
This press release contains statements, estimates, and projections that are “forward-looking statements” as defined under U.S. federal securities laws. Words such as “aim,” “anticipate,” “aspire,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “envision,” “estimate,” “expect,” “expectation,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “project,” “pursue,” “see,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” and similar words identify forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date we make them. Except as required by law, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors (many beyond our control) that could cause our actual results to differ materially from our historical experience or from our current expectations or projections. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to:
• Unfavorable global or regional economic conditions, and related low consumer confidence, high unemployment, weak credit or capital markets, budget deficits, burdensome government debt, austerity measures, higher interest rates, higher taxes, political instability, higher inflation, deflation, lower returns on pension assets, or lower discount rates for pension obligations
• Risks associated with being a U.S.-based company with global operations, including commercial, political and financial risks; local labor policies and conditions; protectionist trade policies or economic or trade sanctions; compliance with local trade practices and other regulations, including anti-corruption laws; terrorism; and health pandemics
• Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, particularly a stronger U.S. dollar
• Changes in laws, regulations, or policies – especially those that affect the production, importation, marketing, labeling, pricing, distribution, sale, or consumption of our beverage alcohol products
• Tax rate changes (including excise, sales, VAT, tariffs, duties, corporate, individual income, dividends, capital gains) or changes in related reserves, changes in tax rules (for example, LIFO, foreign income deferral, U.S. manufacturing and other deductions) or accounting standards, and the unpredictability and suddenness with which they can occur
• Dependence upon the continued growth of the Jack Daniel’s family of brands
• Changes in consumer preferences, consumption or purchase patterns – particularly away from larger producers in favor of smaller distilleries or local producers, or away from brown spirits, our premium products, or spirits generally, and our ability to anticipate or react to them; bar, restaurant, travel or other on-premise declines; shifts in demographic trends; unfavorable consumer reaction to new products, line extensions, package changes, product reformulations, or other product innovation
• Decline in the social acceptability of beverage alcohol products in significant markets
• Production facility, aging warehouse or supply chain disruption
• Imprecision in supply/demand forecasting
• Higher costs, lower quality or unavailability of energy, water, raw materials, product ingredients, labor or finished goods
• Route-to-consumer changes that affect the timing of our sales, temporarily disrupt the marketing or sale of our products, or result in higher implementation-related or fixed costs
• Inventory fluctuations in our products by distributors, wholesalers, or retailers
• Competitors’ consolidation or other competitive activities, such as pricing actions (including price reductions, promotions, discounting, couponing or free goods), marketing, category expansion, product introductions, or entry or expansion in our geographic markets or distribution networks
• Risks associated with acquisitions, dispositions, business partnerships or investments – such as acquisition integration, or termination difficulties or costs, or impairment in recorded value
• Inadequate protection of our intellectual property rights
• Product recalls or other product liability claims; product counterfeiting, tampering, contamination, or product quality issues
• Significant legal disputes and proceedings; government investigations (particularly of industry or company business, trade or marketing practices)
• Failure or breach of key information technology systems
• Negative publicity related to our company, brands, marketing, personnel, operations, business performance or prospects
• Failure to attract or retain key executive or employee talent
• Our status as a family “controlled company” under New York Stock Exchange rules
For further information on these and other risks, please refer to the “Risk Factors” section of our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC.
Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information: This press release includes measures not derived in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), including underlying net sales, underlying gross profit, underlying advertising expense, underlying SG&A, and underlying operating income. These measures should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for any measure derived in accordance with GAAP, and also may be inconsistent with similar measures presented by other companies. Reconciliations of these measures to the most closely comparable GAAP measures, and reasons for the company’s use of these measures, are presented on Schedules A and B attached hereto.