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UK a bright spot for bullish Brown-Forman

Published:  10 June, 2009

The UK was one of the major contributing markets to a 3% rise in underlying net sales for Brown-Forman in the year to April 30.

Jack Daniel's and Finlandia were the major drivers of growth in its branded portfolio with contributions up by 4% and 13% respectively, though Southern Comfort was affected by the weak on-trade environment in the UK and US markets, and saw sales drop 3%.

Group operating income was down 4% to US$661 million, but excluding exceptional items reversed this to a 4% gain.

Chief executive officer Paul Varga said: "Given today's global economy, we are pleased with our company's fiscal results.

"We were able to deliver earnings growth despite significant global economic and foreign exchange headwinds.

"We believe our underlying operating income growth rate continues to be in the top tier of major wine and spirit companies.

"Brown-Forman remains a strong and health company."

The group said it expected conditions to remain "challenging" in the year ahead but forecast modest growth.

"Longer-term, we remain confident about the growth opportunities for our brands and our company," Varga added.