Constellation Shares Rise as Corona Demand Fuels Beer Sales

Constellation Brands Inc., the seller of Robert Mondavi wine and Svedka vodka, rose as much as 4.8 percent in New York trading after its newly gained Corona beer brand helped fuel profit last quarter.

Fourth-quarter net income almost doubled to $157.2 million, with net sales climbing 86 percent to $1.29 billion, the Victor, New York-based company said today in a statement. Excluding some items, the earnings amounted to 81 cents a share. That topped the 76-cent average estimate predicted by analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Constellation bought Grupo Modelo’s U.S. beer business from Anheuser-Busch InBev NV last June for about $5.3 billion, gaining the rights to Corona and Modelo brands, as well as a brewery in Nava, Mexico. The deal helped the company’s beer division perform better than projected last quarter, Chief Executive Officer Rob Sands said in the statement. Constellation is working to expand the brewery in Mexico to keep up with supply, he said.

“Our beer business exceeded our expectations for the year, fueled by robust consumer demand,” he said.

Constellation’s shares climbed as high as $85.40 in today’s trading. Through yesterday, the stock was up 68 percent over the past year.

Constellation expects earnings of $3.95 to $4.15 a share in fiscal 2015, which ends next February. Analysts estimated $3.96.

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