Constellation Brands (STZ) - Get Constellation Brands Inc. Report posted better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Thursday thanks in part to solid beer sales and improving margins for high-end wines and spirits.
Constellation said diluted net earnings for the three months ending in February came in at $1.95 per share, down 5.3% from the same period last year but firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.56 per share. Comparable earnings were pegged at $1.82 per share.
Group revenues, the company said, rose 3% to $1.953 billion, just ahead of analysts' estimates of a $1.9 billion tally, thanks to solid growth in the Corona-brand owners beer business and the improving demand for the new trend of hard seltzers and flavored drinks.
Looking into the 2022 financial year, Constellation said it sees comparable earnings in the region of $9.95 to $10.25 per share, with an operating cash flow target of between $2.4 billion and $2.6 billion.
“Fiscal 2021 was a dynamic and rewarding year as we produced excellent results while managing the challenges of the pandemic," said CEO Bill Newlands. "I’d like to thank the Constellation team for driving success in the face of continued adversity. As we head into fiscal 2022, we’re operating from a position of strength."
"We’re well positioned for continued execution of our growth and premiumization strategy with a great portfolio of iconic brands and an exciting innovation agenda,” he added.
Constellation shares were marked 4.75% lower in early trading Thursday following the earnings release to change hands at $222.90 each, trimming its year-to-date gain to around 1.75%.
"Marketplace performance for high-end wine brands outpaced the total high-end wine category driven by continued double-digit volume growth for Kim Crawford, Meiomi, and The Prisoner Brand Family," Constellation said. 'Continued focus in the direct-to-consumer and eCommerce segment is paying dividends as our wine brands continue to outpace the market with Constellation’s Wine Business growing almost 300% in the 3-tier eCommerce channel."