Constellation Brands Brews 4Q Beat, In-Line Outlook

Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday and said the acquisition of Crown Imports will nearly double sales.

The Victor, N.Y.-based maker of liquor and wine posted net income of $90 million, or 47 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $82 million, or 43 cents.

The results, despite falling 32% from the year-earlier period, topped average analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll by two pennies a share.

Revenue for the three-month period climbed 11% year-over-year to $696 million, beating the Street’s view of $666.6 million.

The world's largest wine producer earlier this year bought the remaining 50% of Crown Imports it doesn’t already own in a deal valued at $4.75 billion, which includes the price of the interest as well as the brewery and brand rights.

The move makes Constellation a “fully independent beer competitor in the U.S.,” according to Constellation CEO Rob Sands, predicting the deal will nearly double sales at the company while enhancing earnings and free cash flow and diversifying its portfolio.

Looking toward fiscal 2014, which will end on Feb. 28, Constellation sees non-GAAP earnings in the range of $2.55 to $2.85, up from $2.19 in the most recent year. Analysts on average are calling for earnings of $2.78.

Shares of Constellation slumped 1% premarket to $48.09.