Morgan Stanley maintains Overweight rating on Constellation Brands shares By


On Wednesday, Morgan Stanley reiterated its Overweight rating on shares of Constellation Brands (NYSE:), with a steady price target of $305.00. The firm anticipates a favorable reaction in the stock market due to the company’s beer segment outperforming the tempered expectations and delivering robust margins and corporate earnings per share (EPS), despite ongoing challenges in the wine and spirits business.

Constellation Brands reported a 6.4% increase in beer depletions for the first quarter, surpassing the revised forecast range of 5-6% and the initial consensus of over 7%. This performance comes after recent scanner data indicated a potential slowdown, although the pricing fell short of consensus by 70 basis points. The earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for the beer division exceeded expectations by 3.7%, driven by a gross margin increase of 60 basis points and an operating margin increase of 140 basis points compared to consensus.

While the wine and spirits segment did not meet expectations, with a 10.8% shortfall in EBIT against consensus, this was not entirely unexpected. On a corporate level, Constellation Brands’ EBIT and EPS for the first quarter were 2.4% and 3.3% higher than consensus, respectively, thanks to the strong performance of the beer division.

In other recent news, Constellation Brands has exceeded Wall Street’s profit expectations for the first quarter, with a notable rise in its beer segment’s performance. The company posted an adjusted earnings per share of $3.57, surpassing the anticipated $3.45, according to Deutsche Bank and CFRA analysis. Despite net sales slightly missing the consensus estimate of $2.67 billion, coming in at $2.66 billion, the company’s gross margin expanded by 270 basis points to 52.7%.

CFRA has upgraded Constellation Brands from Hold to Strong Buy, raising the price target to $335 from the former $270. This follows Deutsche Bank maintaining a Hold rating with a price target of $262.00. Both ratings were influenced by the company’s first-quarter results, which showed resilience in the beer segment with depletions surpassing expectations at a 6.4% increase.

However, the wine and spirits division underperformed, with both revenue and margins falling short of already low expectations. This has raised concerns about the full-year outlook for this segment. Despite this, Constellation Brands’ Mexicali Brewery’s potential sale might yield additional cash flow, though details remain limited.

Investors should also note the company’s brewery expansion in Mexico nearing completion, expected to boost the company’s volume and free cash flow growth. This development could lead to increased cash returns to shareholders, as noted by CFRA.

InvestingPro Insights

As Morgan Stanley stands by its Overweight rating on Constellation Brands, the InvestingPro data supports a strong market position for the company, with a robust market capitalization of $47.28 billion and a healthy P/E ratio of 27.49. The company’s consistent performance is further highlighted by a revenue growth of 5.39% in the last twelve months as of Q4 2024, indicating steady business expansion. Additionally, Constellation Brands boasts a high gross profit margin of 50.4%, underscoring efficient operations and solid profitability.

InvestingPro Tips also reveal that Constellation Brands has been increasing its dividend for 9 consecutive years, demonstrating a commitment to shareholder returns. Moreover, the company’s liquid assets surpass short-term obligations, which suggests a strong liquidity position. For investors looking to delve deeper into Constellation Brands’ financial health and future prospects, InvestingPro offers additional tips. With the use of the exclusive coupon code PRONEWS24, readers can get up to 10% off a yearly Pro and a yearly or biyearly Pro+ subscription, unlocking more valuable insights. Currently, there are 6 additional InvestingPro Tips available for Constellation Brands, which can provide further guidance for your investment decisions.

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