Corona Deal Lifts Constellation's 1Q Earnings

Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) reported a first-quarter profit that nearly quadrupled, as the company continued to benefit from its Corona deal and stronger beer demand.

The wine and spirits maker also raised its full-year outlook on Wednesday. Constellation now expects a profit of $4.10 to $4.25 a share, up from its previous guidance for $3.95 to $4.15.

Shares rallied 2.6% to $90.66 in recent trading. Constellation was already up 25.6% year-to-date as of Tuesday’s close.

Constellation booked earnings of $206.7 million, or $1.03 a share, in the first quarter, compared to $52.9 million, or 27 cents a share, in the year-ago period. On an adjusted basis, per-share earnings jumped to $1.07 from 38 cents.

Sales more than doubled to $1.53 billion, excluding excise taxes.

The results handily beat Wall Street expectations. Analysts projected adjusted earnings of 93 cents a share and revenue of $1.43 billion.

Constellation has reported strong revenue gains in recent quarters, largely due to a $5.3 billion acquisition of Grupo Modelo’s half of Crown Imports. Budweiser parent AB Inbev (NYSE:BUD) sold the stake in Crown Imports, which distributes Corona and other Mexican beers in the U.S., after its $20.1 billion buyout of Grupo Modelo.

With full ownership of Crown Imports, Victor, N.Y.-based Constellation became the third-largest U.S. beer supplier.

The company said its brighter outlook for the year was driven by the strong performance of its beer business.

“Within our beer business, we continue to capitalize on our industry-leading performance and excellent retail execution across our entire Mexican beer portfolio,” chief executive Rob Sands said in a statement.

In the first quarter, beer sales grew 14% amid higher volume. That offset a 1% decline in net sales for the wine and spirits segment, which includes brands like Robert Mondavi and Svedka.