FAIRPORT, N.Y., March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ, STZ.B) announced today that its Canandaigua Wine division purchased certain wine brands, wineries and related assets from Corus Brands, Inc. ("Corus"). Corus is the second largest wine company in the Northwest with leading brands in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Wine brands acquired in the transaction include Covey Run and Columbia from Washington State, Ste. Chapelle from Idaho and Alice White, one of the fastest growing Australian imports.
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Richard Sands, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Constellation, stated, "This acquisition demonstrates Constellation's ability to evaluate and respond to changing consumer tastes by adding new brands in dynamic categories that show sustainable growth potential. Consumers are increasingly interested in wines from Australia and the Northwest, which last year grew approximately 45% and 10%, respectively." Sands added, "The Corus brands will offer excellent opportunities for growth in Constellation's wine portfolio, which ranks number two in the world, and with Alice White, our portfolio now encompasses the fastest growing import category, Australia."
Jon Moramarco, President of Canandaigua Wine, stated, "With this acquisition and our recent acquisition of the Turner Road Vintners brands, we are now positioned to be the number one wine company in the Northwest. Additionally, this acquisition helps us to round out our portfolio in the higher margin and growing premium table wine category. We intend to use our strong marketing and distribution platform to duplicate their success in the Northwest throughout the country and internationally."
The purchase price for the Corus brands and related assets is approximately $52 million plus an earn-out over six years based on the performance of the brands. Constellation financed the purchase with the Company's revolving line of credit. As part of this transaction, Canandaigua Wine entered into long-term grape supply agreements with affiliates of the seller covering more than 1,000 acres of Washington and Idaho vineyards.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2000, net sales for the brands acquired were approximately $32 million on unit volume of approximately 650,000 cases. Net sales have increased at an average compounded annual growth rate of 20% from 1997 to 2000. The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings per share in the first year.
Constellation Brands, Inc., is a leader in the production and marketing of beverage alcohol brands in North America and the United Kingdom and is a leading independent drinks wholesaler in the United Kingdom. As the second largest supplier of wine, the second largest importer of beer and the fourth largest supplier of distilled spirits, Constellation Brands, Inc., is the largest single-source supplier of these products in the United States. With its broad product portfolio, composed of brands in all major beverage alcohol categories, Constellation believes it is distinctly positioned to satisfy an array of consumer preferences. Leading brands in Constellation's portfolio include: Franciscan Oakville Estate, Simi, Estancia, Almaden, Arbor Mist, Talus, Vendange, Black Velvet