October 5, 2016 / 1:32 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 3-Constellation shares hit record high on strong results

3 Min Read

* Raises FY adjusted profit forecast

* Q2 net sales $2.02 bln vs est $1.96 bln

* Q2 beer sales jump 20 pct

* Exploring all options for Canadian wine business - CEO (Adds CEO comments)

By Gayathree Ganesan

Oct 5 (Reuters) - Constellation Brands Inc reported a better-than-expected 16.6 percent jump in quarterly sales, primarily driven by robust demand for its beers such as Corona and Modelo, and the company raised its full-year adjusted profit forecast.

Shares of the company, which also said it would buy a high-end craft whisky maker, were up about 2 percent at $168.72 on Wednesday, after hitting a record high of $172.

Constellation said it would buy Utah-based High West Distillery for about $160 million to enter the high-end craft whisky market and expand its premium liquor portfolio.

"It is a great time to invest in craft American straight whisky, bourbon and rye, fantastic category - high margin, high growth," Chief Executive Rob Sands said in an interview.

The deal also adds brands such as American Prairie Bourbon and Double Rye to the Robert Mondavi wine and Svedka Vodka maker's portfolio.

Constellation last year acquired Sculpin IPA craft beer maker Ballast Point for about $1 billion to enter a fast-growing market.

Sands said the company was exploring all options for a part of its Canadian wine business, which the brewer said in April it was considering taking public.

"We continue to explore the IPO, but at the same time other opportunities are presenting themselves, so we'd like to explore those," Sands said.

Constellation is seeking more than $1 billion from a sale of the business, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

Beer sales rose 20 percent in the second quarter ended Aug. 31, boosted by higher volumes of its Mexican beer brands including Corona and Modelo, better pricing and increased demand for its craft beer.

Net sales rose to $2.02 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $1.96 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Constellation raised its adjusted profit forecast to $6.30-$6.45 for the year ending February, from $6.05-$6.35 it previously expected.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.77 per share, handily beating analysts' average estimate of $1.65.

Constellation Brands, which imports all its beer from Mexico, was not overly concerned by U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump's comments about Mexico, Sands said.

"Regardless of the party that wins the election, we will be able to work with them," he said.

Up to Tuesday's close, the company's stock had risen about 16 percent this year. (Reporting by Gayathree Ganesan in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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