Brown-Forman Release Q04 ’23 Financial Results

News

June 6, 2024

Brown-Forman Corporation logo

Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE: BFA, BFB) reported financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended April 30, 2024.

Fourth quarter reported net sales decreased 8% to $1.0 billion (-5% on an organic basis) compared to the same prior-year period. In the quarter, reported operating income increased 26% to $375 million (-16% on an organic basis) and diluted earnings per share increased 31% to $0.56.

For the full year, the company’s reported net sales decreased 1% to $4.2 billion (-1% on an organic basis) compared to the same prior-year period. Operating income increased 25% to $1.4 billion (-2% on an organic basis) and diluted earnings per share increased 32% to $2.14.

“In a challenging year within the spirits industry, Brown-Forman remained agile and focused on the long-term growth of our brands and our business,” Lawson Whiting, Brown-Forman’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said in a news release. “While our fiscal 2024 organic results reflect the inventory reductions across the entire spirits value chain, when you adjust for the changes in distributor inventory, we feel good about the results we delivered and are confident in the strength of our strategy, brands, and business.

“As we look to fiscal 2025, we believe we can build on this foundation and deliver top and bottom line organic growth as well as continued gross margin expansion.”

Fiscal 2024 Highlights

  • Reported net sales declines in the United States and Developed International3 markets were largely offset by growth in Emerging3 markets and the Travel Retail3 channel.
  • From a brand perspective:
  • Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey’s reported net sales declined 6% (-5% organic).
  • Diplomático and Gin Mare drove Rest of Portfolio’s3 reported net sales growth of 61% (+15% organic).
  • New Mix delivered reported net sales growth of 32% (+17% organic).
  • Reported gross profit increased 1% (+2% organic) with gross margin expansion of 150 basis points.
  • The company increased reported advertising expense by 4% (+2% organic).
  • The combined divestitures of Finlandia and Sonoma-Cutrer resulted in a gain of $267 million.
  • The company returned $804 million to stockholders by distributing $404 million in regular quarterly dividends and $400 million through its share repurchase program.

Read more: Brown-Forman Announces International Leadership Changes

Fiscal 2024 Brand Results

  • Reported net sales for Whiskey3 products declined 3% (-2% organic), driven by lower volumes for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey reflecting an estimated net decrease in distributor inventories. This decline was partially offset by the growth of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple and the rest of our whiskey portfolio, including Jack Daniel’s super-premium expressions and Glenglassaugh old and rare cask sales. 
  • Reported net sales for the Tequila3 portfolio decreased 4% (-7% organic). Herradura’s reported net sales declined 10% (-13% organic) led by lower volumes in the United States reflecting an estimated net decrease in distributor inventories. el Jimador’s reported net sales were flat (-1% organic) driven by lower volumes in Mexico and the United States offset by higher prices.
  • The Ready-to-Drink3 (RTD) portfolio delivered reported net sales growth of 2% (flat on an organic basis). New Mix’s reported net sales increased 32% (+17% organic) fueled by higher prices. Reported net sales of Jack Daniel’s RTD/RTP portfolio declined 6% (-5% organic) driven by lower volumes of Jack Daniel’s & Cola RTD, partially offset by the continued launch of the Jack Daniel’s & Coca-Cola RTD. Reported net sales were negatively impacted by an estimated net decrease in distributor inventories in the United States.
  • Diplomático and Gin Mare drove the significant increase in the Rest of Portfolio’s reported net sales growth of 61% (+15% organic) led by the Developed International markets and the United States.

Fiscal 2024 Market Results                                                                                         

  • Reported net sales in the United States decreased 4% (-4% organic) driven by lower volumes largely reflecting an estimated net decrease in distributor inventories. This decline was partially offset by higher prices across the portfolio, led by el Jimador and Woodford Reserve, and the growth of super-premium Jack Daniel’s expressions such as Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Rye Barrel Proof and Jack Daniel’s Sinatra.
  • Developed International markets’ reported net sales decreased 2% (-5% organic) primarily due to lower volumes of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey in Japan, following a significant inventory build in the second half of the prior fiscal year. The decline in reported net sales was partially offset by growth from the recently acquired brands, Diplomático and Gin Mare, and Glenglassaugh old and rare cask sales.
  • The Travel Retail channel sustained growth on an exceptionally high comparison in the same prior-year period, as reported net sales increased 8% (+6% organic) propelled by the super-premium American whiskey portfolio. Woodford Reserve and the launch of Jack Daniel’s American Single Malt were the largest contributors of growth in the channel.
  • Emerging markets grew reported net sales 5% (+8% organic) led by very strong growth of New Mix in Mexico and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple in Brazil. The growth was partially offset by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey declines in United Arab Emirates and Sub-Saharan Africa due to an estimated net decrease in distributor inventories.

Read more: Brown-Forman Declares Cash Dividend

Fiscal 2024 Other P&L Items

  • Reported gross profit increased 1% (+2% organic) with strong gross margin expansion of 150 basis points to 60.5%. The increase in gross margin was driven by favorable price/mix and lower supply chain disruption related costs, partially offset by higher input costs and the negative effect of foreign exchange.
  • Reported advertising expense grew 4% (+2% organic) driven by increased investment in Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Diplomático and Gin Mare brands, and the launch of Jack Daniel’s & Coca-Cola RTD. Reported selling, general, and administrative expenses increased 11% (+7% organic) led by higher compensation and benefit-related expenses and the $23 million commitment to the Brown-Forman Foundation and Dendrifund.
  • The company’s reported operating income increased 25% (-2% organic) driven by the positive effect of acquisitions and divestitures, favorable price/mix, the absence of the prior-year period Finlandia non-cash impairment, and lower supply chain disruption costs. This increase was partially offset by operating expense growth, the negative effect of foreign exchange, and the $23 million commitment to the Brown-Forman Foundation and Dendrifund.
  • Diluted earnings per share increased $0.52 driven primarily by the increase in reported operating income.

Fiscal 2024 Financial Stewardship

During fiscal 2024, the company paid $404 million to stockholders through its regular quarterly dividend and returned $400 million to stockholders through its share repurchase program which was completed in December 2023. Brown-Forman, a member of the prestigious S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats index, has paid regular quarterly cash dividends for 80 consecutive years and has increased the regular dividend for 40 consecutive years.

Fiscal 2025 Outlook

We anticipate a return to growth for organic net sales and organic operating income in fiscal 2025 driven by gains in international markets and the benefit of normalizing inventory trends. This outlook is tempered by our belief that global macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties will continue to create a challenging operating environment. Accordingly, we expect the following in fiscal 2025:

  • Organic net sales growth in the 2% to 4% range.
  • Organic operating income growth in the 2% to 4% range.
  • Our effective tax rate to be in the range of approximately 21% to 23%.
  • Capital expenditures planned to be in the range of $195 to $205 million.

For more information, visit https://www.brown-forman.com/.

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