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Brown-Forman sees 37% dip in quarter after one-time gain

LOUISVILLE — Brown-Forman's fourth-quarter profit dropped 37 percent compared with one year ago, when the liquor company pocketed proceeds from the sale of its Fetzer Vineyards.

Its revenue topped Wall Street estimates, though.

The Louisville-based company reported Wednesday that it earned $104.5 million, or 73 cents a share, for the three months ended April 30. That's down from $165.4 million, or $1.13 a share, a year earlier.

In addition to comparisons to last year, when Fetzer was sold to Chilean wine producer Vina Concha y Toro S.A. for $238 million, Brown-Forman also cited unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of 76 cents a share.

Revenue increased 1 percent, to $801.3 million from $791.3 million, topping Wall Street's average estimate of $769.6 million.

Full-year earnings fell 10 percent, to $513.2 million, or $3.56 a share, from $571.6 million, or $3.90 a share, in the prior year.

Annual revenue rose 6 percent, to $3.61 billion from $3.4 billion, with sales of Jack Daniel's climbing 12 percent.

CEO Paul Varga said that Brown-Forman has partially absorbed cost increases during the past several years but that it expects higher prices to contribute more to its total revenue growth going forward.

For fiscal 2013, Brown-Forman anticipates earnings of $3.60 to $4 a share, with revenue up by a high single-digit percentage rate.

Analysts forecast full-year earnings of $3.97 a share.

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