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Constellation Brands (STZ) Raises Guidance After Upbeat 3Q

 January 09, 2013 08:10 AM

(By Balachander) Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) lifted its guidance for fiscal 2013 after the premium wine company posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter results, and its shares jumped 4.13 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday.

On a comparable basis, the company's earnings per share (EPS) increased 26 percent to 63 cents, beating market expectations of 55 cents for the third quarter. Reported net income grew 4 percent to $110 million for the quarter ended November.

Net sales rose 9 percent to $767 million, topping consensus estimate of a growth of 7.30 percent for the three month period.

[Related -Stock Upgrades And Downgrades: AMD, CHK, CSC, DDD, PANW, SPWR, STZ]

The New York-based company - whose brands include Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Kim Crawford - said wine and spirits net sales grew 6 percent on an organic constant currency basis helped by higher volume and favorable product mix.

"We continue to experience strong marketplace momentum across our beer, wine and spirits portfolio and we were well positioned at retail during the key holiday selling season," commented CEO Rob Sands. 

Looking ahead for the year 2013, the company now expects comparable EPS in the range of $2.10 to $2.20 from prior expectations of $2.00 to $2.10. while analysts expect $2.07. Constellation Brands also lifted reported EPS forecast to $1.97 to $2.07 from 1.87 to $1.97 projected earlier.

The company still sees free cash flow of $450 to $500 million for fiscal 2013.

STZ shares, which have been trading in the 52-week range of $18.50 to $37.57, closed Tuesday's regular trading at $36.06.

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