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Constellation Brands Climbs on Earnings Beat, Empathy Wines Purchase

Constellation Brands was able to top analysts first quarter earnings and revenue expectations.
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Shares of alcohol maker Constellation Brands  (STZ) - Get Constellation Brands, Inc. Class A Report rose Wednesday after the company announced fiscal first quarter results that topped analyst estimates for the period. 

On an adjusted basis, Constellation reported earnings of $2.30 per share, $2.44 per share if losses from its investment in Canadian weed company Canopy Growth  (CGC) - Get Canopy Growth Corporation Report are excluded, on revenue of $1.96 billion.

Analysts were expecting adjusted earnings of $1.99 per share on revenue of $1.94 billion. 

Shares were rising 2.4% to $178.50 in pre-market trading on Wednesday.

"We overcame a number of headwinds to deliver solid first quarter results marked by margin improvement and impressive depletion growth for our beer business and our wine and spirits Power Brand portfolio," said CEO Bill Newlands in a statement. 

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Constellation's operating margin increased by 240 basis points year over year to 41.7% thanks to "benefits from marketing spend and favorable pricing," though those were partially offset by higher raw material costs, the company said.

Constellation announced a dividend of 75 cents per share on its Class A stock and a 68 cent per share dividend for its Class B common stock. 

Separately, Constellation announced that it purchased Empathy wines, a direct-to-consumer wine brand that was co-founded by media personality Gary Vaynerchuk. 

Empathy sells "sustainable wines" sold via an e-commerce platform using digital marketing with a $20 per bottle price point. The brand has sold about 15,000 cases of wine since it was launched in 2019. 

Newlands said that the purchase was an effort for Constellation to build a direct relationship with consumers. The company did not disclose details of the deal.