Higher prices, volumes lift spirits seller Beam

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Higher prices and volumes are lifting spirits company Beam Inc.

The maker of Jim Beam, Maker's Mark and Courvoisier posted adjusted profit in the third quarter that topped Wall Street's expectations, and shares rose in morning trading.

The company's results were distorted because of recent corporate changes. It used to be called Fortune Brands Inc., but spun off Fortune Brands Home & Security in October 2011 and renamed itself after its flagship bourbon brand.

The year-ago July-September quarter included $495.8 million in profit from businesses that Beam no long owns _ so this year's third quarter profit shrank 82 percent to $76.5 million, or 47 cents per share, compared with $413.1 million, or $2.67 per share, a year ago.

But counting just the businesses that Beam still owns, and excluding one-time items, per-share profit came to 62 cents in the third quarter, up 17 percent from 53 cents in last year's third quarter.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected 55 cents per share.

Revenue excluding excise taxes rose 8 percent to $627.5 million from $579.2 million thanks to higher prices, volumes and a more profitable mix of drinks sold. Some of the brands with the biggest sales increases included Maker's Mark bourbon and the newly acquired Pinnacle vodka.

Wall Street expected revenue of $605 million.

The Deerfield, Ill., company's shares rose $2.37, or 4.3 percent, to $57.95 Friday.