Constellation Lifts '13 Outlook Following Strong Quarterly Wine Sales

By RetailFOXBusiness

A ramp up in marketing that boosted sales last quarter led Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) to report better-than-expected third-quarter earnings on Wednesday and increase its full-year outlook for the second time this fiscal year.

The Victor, N.Y.-based maker of Robert Mondavi and Ravenswood wine reported net income of $110 million, or 58 cents a share, up 4% from the year-earlier period.

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Excluding one-time items, Constellation earned 63 cents, beating average analyst estimates of 55 cents in a Thomson Reuters poll.

The results, coupled with tax benefits, led the vintner to lift its fiscal 2013 outlook to a range of $2.10 to $2.20 a share, excluding special items, from an earlier forecast of $2.00 to $2.10. The projection is above the consensus’ $2.07 EPS estimate.

Constellation said the $1.85 billion acquisition of the remaining 50% interest in Crown Imports, first announced in June, is still expected to close in the current calendar quarter. The deal will give it full control of U.S. distribution for Corona Extra.

In a statement, Constellation CEO Rob Sands said the acquisition will solidify the company’s position as the largest U.S. multi-category suppliers across the alcohol beverage segment.

“The year is unfolding as we expected and we are on track to meet our financial and strategic goals for the year," he said.

Constellation continues to experience strong marketplace momentum across its beer, wine and spirits portfolio and was well positioned during the key holiday season, Sands added.

Revenue for the three-month period was $767 million, up from $701 million a year ago and topping the Street’s view of $751.8 million.

Constellation said wine and spirits net sales grew 6% on an organic constant currency basis, partially offset by higher promotional expenses.