Corona, Modelo Beers Drive Constellation Beat, Wines Leave A Stain

By Dave Simpson
Corona, Modelo Beers Drive Constellation Beat, Wines Leave A Stain

Constellation Brands Inc has reported quarterly sales and profit that beat Wall Street forecasts, benefiting from new beer launches in its Corona and Modelo brands, though wine sales struggled.

The company's new low-calorie Premier beer and Corona Familiar, which were launched in the United States early last year, boosted beer sales by 9.3% to $1.09 billion in the three months that ended on February 28, and helped Constellation beat analysts' estimates.

Even though beer consumption drops during the winter months of December to February, Constellation said it took a bigger pie of the US beer industry and was the top market share gainer for those months.

Strong demand for its beers has led the Victor, New York-based company to continue adding new brands to its Corona portfolio. This spring, it plans to launchCorona Refresca, a malt beverage available in passionfruit lime, guava lime and coconut lime flavors.

It will also introduce Modelo Chelada Limón y Sal, a traditional Mexican beer with lime and salt, to strengthen its hold on the Hispanic beer drinking market, which is its biggest.


Wine And Spirits

In contrast, Constellation's wine and spirits business did not achieve the same sales momentum as beer, falling nearly 8% and leading the company to sell about 30 of its low-end wines to California-based E. & J. Gallo Winery for $1.7 billion in early April.

"[The sale] enables us to continue to strategically focus on our powerhouse, high-margin, high growth brands," said CEO Bill Newlands.

Net sales from wine and spirits are expected to fall 25%-30% and operating income is expected to drop 30%-35 % in fiscal 2020, following the sale. This is also expected to take a big chunk out of its 2020 earnings. The company said it expects adjusted earnings in the range of $8.50 to $8.80 per share, excluding its earnings from pot producer Canopy Growth Corp, compared with $9.34 in fiscal 2019.

"Comfortable With The Divestiture"

"We're comfortable with the divestiture... We think Constellation has enough brands and segments that they don't have to rely solely on wines and spirits," said Altman Advisors' portfolio manager John Brick. Altman has a stake in the brewer.

Constellation earned an adjusted profit of $1.84 per share on sales of $1.80 billion in the fourth quarter. Both beat analysts estimates handily.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.