Second-quarter profit edged higher at Constellation Brands ( STZ) as sales grew 15%.

The wine and beverage maker said it earned $82.4 million, or 34 cents a share, compared with $80.6 million, or 35 cents a share a year earlier. (The company had additional shares outstanding in the latest quarter.)

Excluding items, the company said it posted earnings of $98.1 million, or 41 cents a share -- in line with analysts' consensus estimates.

Sales rose to $1.19 billion -- slightly below the Street's expectation of $1.24 billion -- as the company said its Robert Mondavi and Ruffino labels helped to drive a 35% in branded wine sales.

"Strong performance by our U.S. branded wine and imported beers businesses, together with the addition of Robert Mondavi brands, resulted in another solid quarter of financial performance," said Richard Sands, Constellation Brands chairman and chief executive officer.

Constellation Brands acquired Mondavi in December 2004.

After hours, shares of Constellation Brands climbed 18 cents, or 0.7%, to $25.10 on Instinet.

For the third quarter, the company expects earnings before items of 48 cents to 51 cents a share, while full-fiscal-year earnings are projected at $1.56 to $1.60 a share. Both predictions are in line with current Wall Street estimates of 51 cents a share for the third quarter and $1.60 a share for the full year.

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