Beam floats in Fortune Brands break up

US Spirits company Fortune Brands today begun trading as Beam on the New York stock exchange, following the separation of its businesses.

Yesterday Fortune Brands split away from Fortune Brands Home & Security business – which also floated today – ahead of its reincarnation as Beam. 

According to Beam, the move reflects its “singular focus as a leading global premium spirits company”.

Fortune Brands stockholders will receive one share of Fortune Brands Home & Security for each share of Fortune Brands and will retain shares in Beam (formerly Fortune Brands).

Fortune Brands also received a cash dividend of $500 million from Home & Security prior to the spin-off.

Beam, which refers to itself as the world’s fourth largest premium spirits company and the largest that is US-based, posted annual sales of $2.7 billion and volume sales of 33 million 9-liter cases in 2010.

Its leading brands include Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Knob Creek bourbons; Sauza and Hornitos tequila; Courvoisier cognac; Canadian Club whisky; Teacher’s and Laphroaig scotch; Cruzan rum; Pucker flavored vodka; and Skinnygirl cocktails.

Matt Shattock, president and chief executive officer of Beam, said: “With the benefit of our portfolio transformation from 2005 to 2007, the enhanced routes to market we built in 2008 and 2009, and the turbocharged brand investments behind sustainable growth initiatives we’ve made over the past two years, Beam is ready to accelerate profitable growth as a pure-play spirits business.

Beam marked the company’s emergence as a standalone spirits business with a celebration at its Clermont, Kentucky distillery.

The event was web-cast to celebrations at Beam’s facilities around the world and included the appearance of Fred Noe, master distiller and great grandson of Jim Beam.