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Constellation Brands Tops Estimates, Provides Strong Guidance

The alcohol and spirits maker beats analysts' fiscal third-quarter estimates for both revenue and earnings.
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Constellation Brands  (STZ)  rose premarket Thursday after the alcohol and spirits maker reported fiscal third-quarter results that topped analyst estimates for the quarter, which ended in December. 

The Victor, New York-based company reported quarterly revenue of $2.44 billion, a 22% year-over-year increase, with diluted earnings of $3.09 per share, a 44% year-over-year increase. Analysts were expecting revenue of $2.23 billion with earnings of $2.39 per share.

"The finalization of our Wine and Spirits transactions enhances the financial profile of our business and enables further debt reduction so that we can continue to execute our commitment to return $5 billion in value to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases through fiscal 2023," said Constellation CFO Garth Hankinson. 

For fiscal 2021, which ends in March, Constellation expects earnings between $9.80 and $10.05 per share, ahead of analysts' $9.44 per share expectations.

Constellation shares were up 3.10% to $231.45 Thursday morning. 

The company's Corona Hard Seltzer brand "continues to exceed expectations" in terms of distribution, the company said. And its Modelo Especial beer brand achieved nearly 20% depletion growth, the rate at which beer leaves distributors' warehouses, in the quarter to become the top import beer share gainer, according to Constellation.

The company increased its operating cash flow by 14% in the quarter to $2.4 billion. The company's board authorized a new $2 billion share repurchase program, with $1.9 billion still left on its previous one. 

The company also declared a cash dividend of 75 cents per share on its Class A stock and 68 cents per share on its Class B stock. 

"Our business performance accelerated during the quarter despite ongoing headwinds from the pandemic, as we remain obsessed with meeting the needs of our consumers while staying focused on our long-term growth strategy," said CEO Bill Newlands.

Constellation says its share of cannabis company Canopy Growth's  (CGC)  equity earnings totaled a loss of $43 million. Constellation owns 38.6% of Canopy Growth.