Corona Parent Constellation Brands Has Seen $700 Million In Gains From Cannabis Investment

Posted: Jul 02, 2018

Wines priced at more than $11 are also experiencing growth ahead of market trends

Corona parent Constellation Brands has seen $700 million in gains from cannabis investment
Published: July 2, 2018 8:03 a.m. ET

Wines priced at more than $11 are also experiencing growth ahead of market trends

Corona parent Constellation Brands says its investment in Canopy Growth “is certainly paying off”

Constellation Brands Inc., whose portfolio includes Corona beer, Ruffino prosecco and Svedka vodka, said it has recognized gains of more than $700 million in reported results since it invested in Canopy Growth Corp. last year.

“In Q1 we recognized an additional $258 million pre-tax unrealized gain from the change in fair value of the Canopy Growth investment and warrants, bringing the total pre-tax gain on this investment to over $700 million,” said David Eric Klein, chief financial officer of Constellation Brands, on the Friday earnings call, according to a FactSet transcript.

Constellation Brands STZ, -5.79% announced that it was taking a 9.9% stake in Canopy Growth, a Canada-based cannabis and hemp company, WEED, -5.16% CGC, -4.41% in October 2017. Shortly after, analysts called the move a smart one.

On the call, Chief Executive Robert Sands said the investment “is certainly paying off.”

Canopy Growth shares are up nearly five-fold, gaining 378% over the past 12 months.

Constellation Brands shares are down 5.4% in Friday trading after it reported fiscal first-quarter adjusted earnings of $2.02, below the $2.44 per share FactSet consensus. Sales totaled $2.05 billion, just ahead of the $2.04 billion FactSet consensus.

“Constellation’s wine business at the greater than $11 retail price point is growing 12% versus market growth of 10%,” Sands said. “Overall, our Focus brands continue to drive growth of our wine and spirits portfolio and has consistently delivered growth at the three times to four times U.S. market rate.”

The Focus brands include Robert Mondavi and Prisoner wines.

Wells Fargo analysts said in a Friday note, that they were “disappointed” by the EPS and margin miss, but were “encouraged by Constellation’s solid topline beat and affirmation of its fiscal 2019 guidance, which implies headwinds impacting Q1 (transport/FX/marketing costs) are expected to be manageable.”

Wells Fargo rates Constellation Brands shares outperform.

Constellation Brands shares are down 4.2% for the year so far, but are up 13% for the last year. The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.08% is up 12.2% for the last 12 months.

July 2, 2018

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