Beam, the US-based global spirits group, which is being acquired by Suntory of Japan for $16 billion, has reported a 4% rise in net sales to a record $2.55 billion for 2013 and an 8% increase in operating income to $617.1m. However, net income fell 5.9% to $362.5 million Net sales for the year were up 2% on a comparable basis, when adjusted for foreign exchange and acquisitions/divestitures. Beam’s full-year sales benefited from market outperformance in North America and Europe/Middle East/Africa, partly offset by lower sales in Asia Pacific/South America. New products and positive price/mix enhanced the company’s top-line growth. Matt Shattock, president and chief executive of Beam. “Beam closed a strong year with a better-than-expected quarter that benefited from accelerated growth for premium brands and cost containment,” says Matt Shattock, president and chief executive of Beam. “For the full year, we delivered excellent performance in premium whiskey – led by Bourbon, Canadian, single-malt Scotch and Irish – as well as in Tequila. We’re pleased we exceeded the high-single-digit earnings target range we established at the start of 2013 and delivered another year of double-digit growth in diluted earnings per share before charges/gains.” He continues: “We look forward to completion of the proposed acquisition of Beam Inc. by Suntory Holdings. The proposed transaction remains on track to close in the second quarter of 2014.” The transaction remains subject to regulatory clearance in the United States and the European Union.