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STRONG FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS, TRADE DISPUTE, FETZER AGREEMENT ARE FOCUS OF BROWN-FORMAN ANNUAL STOCKHOLDERS' MEETING

 STRONG FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS, TRADE DISPUTE, FETZER AGREEMENT
 ARE FOCUS OF BROWN-FORMAN ANNUAL STOCKHOLDERS' MEETING
 LOUISVILLE, Ky., July 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE: BF.A BF.B) is anticipating an unusually strong performance in the first quarter of fiscal 1993, with earnings per share advancing significantly over the same period last year, reported W. L. Lyons Brown, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, in remarks presented today to the company's annual stockholders' meeting. Mr. Brown said the wine and spirits segment of the business is benefitting from the successful introduction of Jack Daniel's Country Cocktails and the decision to accelerate shipments of Italian wine imports and Jack Daniel's exports due to a potential trade dispute over oilseeds subsidies between the United States and the European Economic Community. "Approximately $.12 of the total quarterly increase in earnings per share is expected as a result of these advanced shipments," stated Mr. Brown, "and the accelerated shipping could continue in the second quarter as well."
 Mr. Brown told stockholders that protracted imposition of prohibitive tariffs on imported still wines by the U.S., and possibly on bourbon and Tennessee whiskey by the European Economic Community in retaliation for the U.S. action, would significantly hurt Brown-Forman's sales and profitability over the longer term. "While we are hopeful that this trade impasse can be resolved successfully through negotiation, we believe that it is prudent to accelerate shipments of these brands to mitigate the negative effects to the company in the event that a negotiated settlement is not quickly reached," Mr. Brown said.
 Brown-Forman's recent announcement that it has agreed with Fetzer Vineyards of Mendocino County, California, to create a strategic alliance was also a focal point of Mr. Brown's report to stockholders. Fetzer is one of the largest and fastest growing premium California wineries. Brown-Forman will purchase substantially all of the outstanding stock of the winery, including the Fetzer and Bel Arbors brands. "Fetzer Vineyards' fine tradition and excellent reputation for quality and value is consistent with that of Brown-Forman," commented Mr. Brown. "More important, the acquisition furthers the company's long-term strategy of expanding its portfolio of domestic premium wines. With the inclusion of Fetzer, Brown-Forman will become one of the larger marketers of premium wine in the United States."
 Brown-Forman stockholders also heard the chairman report that the company achieved record earnings in fiscal 1992, despite recessionary economic conditions for much of the year in both the domestic and some major international markets. In fiscal 1992, net income rose to $146.4 million, or $5.29 per share, compared to $145.2 million, or $5.21 per share, the previous year.
 Operating income for the company's wines and spirits segment increased 4 percent to $221.0 million in fiscal 1992. Demand for Brown- Forman's domestic brands was dampened by the weak U.S. economy and substantial excise tax increases. As a result, volume of each of the company's core brands declined moderately, in line with respective industry categories.
 Brown-Forman's overseas spirits business enjoyed another year of record profits in fiscal 1992, largely on the strength of Jack Daniel's, which grew by 10 percent outside the U.S. "We believe the overseas market represents a very attractive long-term business opportunity," stated Mr. Brown. "Assuming continued free market access among the world's trading partners, we expect the international division to contribute significantly to the company in the future."
 Operating income of the company's consumer durables segment, which includes Lenox, and the Dansk and Gorham acquisition for 10 months of fiscal 1992, rose 27 percent to $40.4 million versus fiscal 1991. Excluding Dansk and Gorham, consumer durables operating profit rose 7 percent; however, during fiscal 1991, the segment's operating profits were negatively affected by additional accruals for workers' compensation expenses and environmental clean-up costs.
 Stockholders were told that Brown-Forman's "other" segment, which represents venture businesses, experienced operating losses of $14.8 million in fiscal 1992, compared to $8.2 million in fiscal 1991. These increased losses were caused by operational difficulties at the intensive fish raising facility and by the write-down of $3.5 million of related assets. But, Mr. Brown said, "We expect a significant reduction in these losses in fiscal 1993 as the company begins to realize benefits from restructuring its aquaculture business and from previous investments in the credit card processing operations."
 Brown-Forman Corporation is a diversified producer and marketer of fine quality consumer products, including Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, Canadian Mist, Southern Comfort, Korbel California Champagnes, Lenox China and Crystal, Dansk International Designs, Gorham Silver, Crystal and China, and Hartmann Luggage.
 -0- 7/23/92
 /CONTACT: David R. Jackson, Vice President, Assistant to Chairman, Brown-Forman Corporation, 502-774-7309/
 (BF) CO: Brown-Forman Corporation ST: Kentucky IN: LEI SU: ERN


CM -- CH010 -- 2397 07/23/92 10:30 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 23, 1992
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