UPDATE 1-Constellation Brands raises forecast as beer sales soar

Wed Jan 8, 2014 9:32am EST

(Adds background, CEO comment, share movement)

Jan 8 (Reuters) - Constellation Brands Inc, the world's biggest branded wine maker, raised its full-year earnings forecast as strong sales of Corona and Modelo Especial beers drove up revenue.

The company acquired U.S. distribution rights to the beers last year when it bought out Grupo Modelo's interest in their U.S. beer joint venture, Crown Imports LLC. (r.reuters.com/wag85v)

Shares of Constellation, which owns wine brands such as Robert Mondavi and Ravenswood, rose 7 percent on Wednesday morning.

The company's profit nearly doubled and its revenue jumped 88 percent in the third quarter ended Nov. 30.

"The strong marketplace momentum we experienced this summer for our beer portfolio, especially Corona and Modelo Especial, continued throughout the fall and into the holiday selling season," Chief Executive Rob Sands said in a statement.

Constellation raised its full-year earnings forecast to $3.10-$3.20 per share from $2.80-$3.10 per share.

Analysts on average were expecting $3 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Constellation's profit rose to $211 million, or $1.07 per share, in the third quarter from $109.5 million, or 58 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $1.44 billion as beer sales increased by 21 percent. Analysts on average had expected revenue to be $1.39 billion.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.10 per share, higher than average analyst estimate of 91 cents.

Constellation shares were trading at $74.84 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar; Editing by Kirti Pandey)