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Constellation Brands Lifts Forecast As Beer Sales Surge 16%

From Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ) early Thursday posted better than expected Q3 earnings results and lifted its outlook, as numbers were bolstered by strong beer sales.

The Victor, NY-based company reported Q3 EPS of $1.96, which was a full $0.24 better than the Wall Street consensus estimate of $1.72. Revenues rose 10.4% from last year to $1.81 billion, matching analysts’ view of $1.81 billion.

Constellation noted that net sales of beer in the latest period jumped 16%, helped by a 12% percent increase in organic net sales, which were driven by higher prices and volumes as well as the acquisition of Ballast Point brewery. Wine and spirits net sales rose 5%, helped by acquisitions but hampered by lower volume.

Looking ahead, STZ raised its full-year 2017 EPS outlook to a range of $6.55 to $6.65, up from a prior forecast of $6.30 to $6.45. On average, Wall Street analysts are looking for EPS of $6.46 for the year.

Constellation continues to expect 2017 beer sales to rise 16% to 17%, with operating margins in the high teens. Wine and spirits sales are seen growing in the mid single-digit range, with operating income growth in the mid to high single-digits.

The company commented via press release:

“It has been another dynamic quarter for our business and I am proud of our impressive financial results and recent accomplishments,” said Rob Sands, president and chief executive officer, Constellation Brands. “We sold our Canadian wine business as part of our strategy to focus on premium, margin accretive, growth opportunities. We increased our functioning brewery capacity and innovation flexibility to support our fast-growing, high-end Mexican beer portfolio with the purchase of the Obregon brewery operation in Mexico. We strengthened our premium wine and spirits portfolio with the acquisitions of Charles Smith Wines and High West Distillery, and we repurchased a significant number of our shares. Our business has never been stronger and the future prospects across our beer, wine and spirits portfolio are compelling,” said Sands.

Constellation Brands, Inc. shares were mostly flat in premarket trading Thursday. Year-to-date, STZ has gained 3.05%, versus a 1.36% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

STZ currently has an POWR Rating of C (Neutral), and is ranked #13 of 25 stocks in the Beverages category.

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