(By Balaseshan) Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE:STZ), the maker of Robert Mondavi and Ravenswood wines, reported a 3% decline in first quarter earnings due to higher interest expense and loss on write-off of financial costs. However, adjusted results topped market expectations.
In addition, the company plans to acquire balance 50% interest in Crown Imports LLC, a 50-50 joint venture with Grupo Modelo S.A.B. de C.V., for $1.85 billion, in a move to gain further control in the U.S. over Corona beers and other breweries. At the same time, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE:BUD) is buying Grupo Modelo S.A.B. de C.V. for $20 billion.
Following the announcements, shares of STZ jumped 18.24% in premarket.
Earnings for the first quarter declined to $72 million from $74.5 million. On a per share basis, earnings rose to $0.38 from $0.35.
Adjusted earnings were $76.0 million or $0.40 per share, compared to $84.1 million or $0.39 per share last year. The decline in the adjusted results was driven primarily by promotional spending and higher marketing.
Net sales decreased marginally to $634.8 million from $635.3 million.
Analysts had expected a profit of $0.39 per share on revenue of $646.64 million.
Wine and spirits net sales on an organic constant currency basis decreased one percent reflecting higher promotional costs and a decrease in volume, partially offset by favorable product mix.
Consolidated shipment volume remained unchanged at 14.8 million, branded product, 9 liter case equivalents from last year, while organic shipment volume declined 0.7% to 14.7 million, branded product, 9 liter case equivalents.
Interest expense increased 14% to $51 million, primarily due to higher average borrowings and an increase in average interest rates.
Looking ahead into the fiscal 2013, the company reaffirmed its earnings guidance of $1.89 to $1.99 per share and comparable earnings forecast of $1.93 to $2.03 per share, while Street predicts $2.00 per share. Interest expense is expected to be about $210 million to $220 million.
STZ closed Thursday's regular session at $21.76. The stock has been trading between $16.42 and $24.87 for the past 52 weeks.