Constellation Brands Reports Fiscal 2011 Results

  • Achieves comparable basis diluted EPS of $1.91 and reported basis diluted EPS of $2.62; reported results reflect favorable tax benefit 

  • Generates record free cash flow of $530 million  

  • Decreases debt by approximately $600 million  

  • Provides fiscal 2012 outlook; projects diluted EPS of $1.90 - $2.00 and  free cash flow of $600 - $650 million 

  • Completes sale of Australian and U.K. business 

  • Board of Directors authorizes $500 million share repurchase program; management currently expects multi-year implementation 

 

Fiscal 2011 Financial Highlights*
(in millions, except per share data)
 
  Comparable     %    
Change    
Reported     %    
Change    
Consolidated net sales $3,332     -1%     $3,332     -1%    
         
Operating income $534     -5%     $503     61%    
         
Operating margin 16.0%     -60 bps     15.1%     NM    
         
Equity in earnings of equity method investees** $244     2%     $244     14%    
         
Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) $778     -3%     NA     NA    
         
Net income $408     9%     $560     NM    
         
Diluted earnings per share $1.91     13%     $2.62     NM    
         
 

VICTOR, N.Y., April 7, 2011 - Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ), the world's leading premium wine company, reported today its fiscal 2011 results.

 

"Fiscal 2011 marks another year of significant accomplishments as we successfully executed on several of our key strategic goals and business initiatives," said Rob Sands, president and chief executive officer. "We are realizing the benefits from the implementation of our U.S. distributor initiative through improvements in depletion and consumer take-away trends. We generated record free cash flow, executed an accelerated stock buyback transaction and reduced debt by almost $600 million for the second consecutive year. Additionally, we sold our Australian and U.K. business as part of our efforts to further premiumize our portfolio, improve ROIC and generate profitable organic growth."

 

Fiscal 2011 Net Sales Highlights*
(in millions)
  Reported Organic
   

Net    
Sales    
 

%
Change
Constant
Currency
Change    
 

Net    
Sales    
 

%
Change
Constant
Currency
Change
Consolidated $3,332     -1% -3%     $3,332     5% 3%
North America $2,557     5% 4%     $2,557     5% 4%
Australia and Europe $775     -17% -18%     $775     2% --

 

*Definitions of reported, comparable, organic and constant currency, as well as reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures, are contained elsewhere in this news release.
** Hereafter referred to as "equity earnings."
NA=Not applicable
NM=Not meaningful

 

 

Fiscal 2011 Net Sales Commentary

 

Reported consolidated net sales decreased one percent due primarily to the divestitures of the U.K. cider and Australian and U.K. wine businesses. Organic net sales on a constant currency basis increased three percent versus the prior year.

 

North America net sales on an organic constant currency basis increased four percent primarily due to a combination of U.S. volume growth and favorable U.S. product mix, partially offset by higher promotion cost. "While the distributor initiative favorably impacted sales, depletions for our total U.S. domestic business increased three percent while depletions for our focus brands increased almost 10 percent," said Sands. "For the 2010 calendar year, we maintained market share on a volume basis across all channels for the wine and spirits categories driven by strong performance of brands including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Estancia, Kim Crawford, Simi, Wild Horse and SVEDKA."

 

Australia and Europe net sales on an organic constant currency basis were level with the prior year.

 

Fiscal 2011 Operating Income and Net Income Commentary

 

The consolidated comparable basis operating income decline reflected investments in selling, general and administrative expense for the North America and Corporate segments. In addition, operating income for the Australia and Europe segment decreased primarily due to the January 2010 divestiture of the U.K. cider business.

 

Constellation's equity earnings from its 50 percent interest in the Crown Imports joint venture totaled $226 million, an increase of two percent from the prior year.  For fiscal 2011, Crown generated net sales of $2.4 billion, an increase of six percent, and operating income of $453 million, an increase of two percent.  The net sales increase for Crown was driven by volume growth reflecting improvement in consumer demand and distributor inventories returning to more optimum levels. Operating income for Crown increased primarily due to the higher volume partially offset by a contractual cost increase and higher SG&A expense.

 

"Throughout the year, Crown built positive momentum in a number of areas by launching new products and packaging configurations and executing key advertising programs. This resulted in Crown outperforming the industry and the import category overall, with depletions growing low- to mid-single digits for the year," commented Sands.

 

For fiscal 2011, pre-tax restructuring charges and unusual items totaled $32 million compared to $275 million for the prior year.

 

Interest expense totaled $195 million, a decrease of 26 percent. The decrease was due to lower average interest rates and borrowings.

 

The comparable basis effective tax rate for fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2010 was 30 percent. The comparable basis effective tax rate for both periods reflects the favorable outcome of various tax items.  

 

Constellation completed the sale of its Australian and U.K. business to CHAMP Private Equity on Jan. 31, 2011 in a transaction that was valued at approximately A$290 million. The company retained an approximate 20 percent interest in the business and received net cash proceeds of about $220 million, subject to post-closing adjustments. In connection with the sale, the company recorded a net pre-tax gain of $84 million and a net tax benefit of $198 million.

 

During fourth quarter 2011, the company recorded a charge of $60 million related to the potential settlement of the Ruffino put option by its majority shareholder.  During fiscal 2011, the company completed an accelerated stock buyback transaction under which it paid $300 million and received 17.2 million shares.  

 

Free Cash Flow Commentary

 

Free cash flow for the year totaled $530 million. "Our record free cash flow generation and proceeds from the sale of the Australian and U.K. business enabled the company to fund the accelerated stock buyback transaction, decrease debt by approximately $600 million and reduce our debt to comparable basis EBITDA ratio to the mid three times range at the end of the fiscal year," said Bob Ryder, chief financial officer, Constellation Brands. "For fiscal 2012, the company is targeting free cash flow in the range of $600 to $650 million."

 

Fourth Quarter 2011 Financial Highlights*
(in millions, except per share data)
 
  Comparable     %    
Change    
Reported     %    
Change    
Consolidated net sales $715     1%     $715     1%    
         
Operating income $104     39%     $103     NM    
         
Operating margin 14.5%     400 bps     14.4%     NM    
         
Equity earnings $52     20%     $52     20%    
         
EBIT $155     32%     NA     NA    
         
Net income $75     24%     $280     NM    
         
Diluted earnings per share $0.35     30%     $1.32     NM    
         
Fourth Quarter 2011 Net Sales Highlights*
(in millions)
 
  Reported Organic  
   

Net    
Sales    
 

%    
Change    
Constant
Currency
Change    
 

Net    
Sales    
 

%    
Change    
Constant
Currency
Change
 
Consolidated $715     1%     -- $715     12%     10%  
North America $580     17%     16%     $580     16%     14%  
Australia and Europe $135     -37%     -39%     $135     -3%     -5%  

 

 

Fourth Quarter 2011 Net Sales Commentary

 

Reported consolidated net sales increased one percent as a 10 percent organic constant currency net sales increase was essentially offset by the divestitures of the Australian and U.K. wine business and the U.K. cider business.

 

North America net sales on an organic constant currency basis increased 14 percent due primarily to a combination of U.S. volume growth and favorable U.S. product mix. The fourth quarter fiscal 2010 net sales reflected the impact of inventory reductions at certain U.S. distributors.

 

Fourth Quarter 2011 Operating Income and Net Income Commentary

 

The consolidated comparable basis operating income increase was primarily driven by U.S. volume growth in the North America segment.

 

Constellation's equity earnings from its 50 percent interest in the Crown Imports joint venture totaled $49 million, an increase of 18 percent from the prior year fourth quarter.  For fourth quarter 2011, Crown generated net sales of $480 million, an increase of 15 percent, and operating income of $97 million, an increase of 18 percent.  Net sales and operating income benefited primarily from volume growth.

 

For fourth quarter 2011, pre-tax restructuring charges and unusual items totaled $1 million compared to $125 million for the prior year fourth quarter.

 

Interest expense totaled $47 million, a decrease of 25 percent. The decrease was due to lower average interest rates and borrowings during the quarter.

 

The comparable basis effective tax rate for the quarter was 31 percent compared to negative 11 percent for the prior year fourth quarter. Both periods reflected the favorable outcome of various tax items.

 

Common Share Repurchase Authorization

 

Constellation's Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $500 million of the company's common stock. The repurchase of shares may be accomplished from time to time, subject to market and other conditions.  "While our near-term focus is on debt reduction, we believe it is important to have a share repurchase authorization in place to provide flexibility over a multi-year period as part of our ongoing evaluation of the optimal capital structure for our business," said Ryder.

 

Summary

 

"We experienced a strong finish to a year where we invested in our business and began building momentum around our product portfolio to drive future growth. We are well positioned from a strategic, market, and financial perspective for the year ahead," said Sands. "Our guidance for fiscal 2012 is being tempered by comparison impacts from the U.S. distributor initiative, incremental marketing investment at Crown and the divestiture of the Australian and U.K. business. However, we continue to target healthy underlying depletion and consumer trends for our business."

 

 Outlook

 

The table below sets forth management's current diluted EPS expectations for fiscal year 2012 compared to fiscal year 2011 actual results, both on a reported basis and a comparable basis.  

 

Constellation Brands Fiscal Year 2012
Diluted Earnings Per Share Outlook

 

  Reported Basis Comparable Basis
FY12    
Estimate    
FY11    
Actual    
FY12    
Estimate    
FY11
Actual
Fiscal Year Ending
Feb. 29/28
 

$1.90 - $2.00    
 

$2.62    
 

$1.90 - $2.00    
 

$1.91    

 

Full-year fiscal 2012 guidance includes the following current assumptions but excludes any impact from any repurchases of the company's common stock:

 

  • Interest expense: approximately $180 - $190 million 

  • Tax rate: approximately 29 percent  

  • Weighted average diluted shares outstanding: approximately 216 million 

  • Free cash flow: $600 - $650 million 

 

Conference Call

 

A conference call to discuss fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2011 results and fiscal outlook will be hosted by President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Sands and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Bob Ryder on Thurs., April 7, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. (eastern).  The conference call can be accessed by dialing +973-935-8505 beginning 10 minutes prior to the start of the call.  A live listen-only webcast of the conference call, together with a copy of this news release (including the attachments) and other financial information that may be discussed during the call will be available on the Internet at Constellation's Web site: www.cbrands.com under "Investors," prior to the call.

 

Explanations

 

Reported basis ("reported") operating income, net income and diluted EPS are as reported under generally accepted accounting principles.  Operating income, net income and diluted EPS on a comparable basis ("comparable"), exclude restructuring charges and unusual items.  The company's measure of segment profitability excludes restructuring charges and unusual items, which is consistent with the measure used by management to evaluate results.

 

The company discusses additional non-GAAP measures in this news release, including constant currency net sales, organic net sales, comparable basis EBIT and free cash flow.

 

Supplemental Financial Information

 

Tables reconciling non-GAAP measures, together with definitions of these measures and the reasons management uses these measures, are attached to and are part of this news release. Please see the link below.

 

About Constellation Brands

 

Constellation Brands is the world's leading premium wine company that achieves success through an unmatched knowledge of wine consumers, storied brands that suit varied lives and tastes, and talented employees worldwide. With a broad portfolio of widely admired premium products across the wine, beer and spirits categories, Constellation's brand portfolio includes Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Blackstone, Arbor Mist, Estancia, Ravenswood, Jackson Triggs, Kim Crawford, Corona Extra, Black Velvet Canadian Whisky and SVEDKA Vodka.

 

Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B) is a S&P 500 Index and Fortune 1000® company with more than 100 brands in our portfolio, sales in about 125 countries and operations in approximately 30 facilities. The company believes that industry leadership involves a commitment to our brands, to the trade, to the land, to investors and to different people around the world who turn to our products when celebrating big moments or enjoying quiet ones. We express this commitment through our vision: to elevate life with every glass raised. To learn more about Constellation, visit the company's Web site at http://www.cbrands.com/.

 

Forward-Looking Statements

 

The statements made under the heading Outlook, and all statements other than statements of historical facts set forth in this news release regarding Constellation's business strategy, future operations, financial position, estimated revenues, projected costs, prospects, plans and objectives of management, as well as information concerning expected actions of third parties, are forward-looking statements (collectively, the "Projections") that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in or implied by the Projections.

 

During the current quarter, Constellation may reiterate the Projections.  Prior to the start of the company's quiet period, which will begin at the close of business on May 31, 2011, the public can continue to rely on the Projections as still being Constellation's current expectations on the matters covered, unless Constellation publishes a notice stating otherwise.  During Constellation's "quiet period," the Projections should not be considered to constitute the company's expectations and should be considered historical, speaking as of prior to the quiet period only and not subject to update by the company.

 

The Projections are based on management's current expectations and, unless otherwise noted, do not take into account the impact of any future acquisition, merger or any other business combination, divestiture, restructuring or other strategic business realignments, financing or share repurchase that may be completed after the date of this release. There can be no assurance that a settlement of matters relating to a put option in Ruffino S.r.l. will occur. The Projections should not be construed in any manner as a guarantee that such results will in fact occur.

 

In addition to the risks and uncertainties of ordinary business operations, the Projections of the company contained in this news release are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including:

 

  • the actual amount of any closing adjustments associated with the sale of 80.1% of the company's Australian and U.K. business to CHAMP Private Equity; 

  • actual costs associated with any settlement regarding Ruffino S.r.l.; 

  • the exact duration of the share repurchase implementation; and the amount and timing of any share repurchases; 

  • completion of various portfolio actions; implementation of consolidation activities and actual U.S. distributor transition experience; 

  • achievement of all expected cost savings from the company's various restructuring plans and realization of expected asset sale proceeds from the sale of inventory and other assets;  

  • accuracy of the bases for forecasts relating to joint ventures and associated costs, losses, purchase obligations and capital investment requirements;  

  • restructuring charges and other one-time costs associated with restructuring plans may vary materially from management's current estimates due to variations in one or more of anticipated headcount reductions, contract terminations, costs or timing of plan implementation;  

  • raw material supply, production or shipment difficulties could adversely affect the company's ability to supply its customers;  

  • increased competitive activities in the form of pricing, advertising and promotions could adversely impact consumer demand for the company's products and/or result in lower than expected sales or higher than expected expenses;  

  • general economic, geo-political and regulatory conditions, prolonged downturn in the economic markets in the U.S. and in the company's major markets outside of the U.S., continuing instability in world financial markets, or unanticipated environmental liabilities and costs;  

  • changes to accounting rules and tax laws, and other factors which could impact the company's reported financial position, results of operations or effective tax rate;  

  • changes in interest rates and the inherent unpredictability of currency fluctuations, commodity prices and raw material costs; and  

  • other factors and uncertainties disclosed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Feb. 28, 2010, which could cause actual future performance to differ from current expectations. 

 

 

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Contacts:
Media:
Angie Howland Blackwell-585-678-7141
Eric Thomas-585-678-7466

 

Investor Relations
Patty Yahn-Urlaub-585-678-7483
Bob Czudak-585-678-7170


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