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Shares of Constellation Brands to continue to rise

I remain upbeat about the shares of Constellation Brands, a large international producer and marketer of alcoholic beverages. Recently, the company issued solid financials for its fiscal 2017 first quarter. Revenues increased 15% y-o-y to $1.872 bn, driven by strong organic sales growth and gains from the Meiomi and Ballast Point acquisitions, and surpassed consensus estimate of $1.827 bn. Revenues also benefited from strong volumes and favorable pricing at the beer business, which drove 19% sales growth in that segment. Wine and spirits’ sales improved 8%, mainly driven by increased volumes. Adjusted operating income jumped nearly 21% to $548.7 mn, and operating margin expanded 150 basis points to 29.3%. Adjusted earnings per share rose 22% to $1.54 topping analysts’ average projection of $1.51.

In FQ1, Constellation Brands generated $345.9 mn in cash from operations and free cash flow of $177 mn. The company also paid dividend of 40 cents per share, which offers annualized dividend yield of around 1%.

In April, Constellation Brands successfully completed the acquisition of The Prisoner Wine Company brands portfolio from Huneeus Vintners for about $285 mn, which should strengthen its position in the wine and spirits business. Also, the company reached a key milestone at its Nava brewery as the facility’s total capacity expanded to 20 mn hectoliters.

With double-digit earnings and sales growth achieved in FQ1, Constellation Brands is optimistic of its fiscal 2017 performance. Management reiterated its adjusted earnings guidance in the range of $6.05-6.35 per share compared with $5.43 recorded in fiscal 2016. The company expects both sales and operating income in the beer segment to grow 14-17%, while wine and spirits’ sales growth is projected in the mid-single digit range, with operating income growth in this segment in the mid-to-high single-digit range. Constellation Brands also anticipates capital expenditure of $1.25-1.35 bn for fiscal 2017, as it continues to progress with the expansion of its Mexican beer business.

I expect shares of Constellation Brands to continue to rise, with medium-term target at $180.