Constellation Brands Inc
On a net basis, the world's largest wine producer said on Wednesday that its loss had narrowed to $406.8 million, or $1.88 per share, in the fourth quarter ended on February 28 from $834.8 million, or $3.91 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding $468 million in restructuring charges and other one-time items, Constellation said it had earned 21 cents per share, a penny shy of the analysts' average forecast of 22 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.
The restructuring charges relate to a cost-cutting plan Constellation laid out last month, which includes closing certain facilities and eliminating 5 percent of its global workforce, or about 400 jobs.
Quarterly net sales fell 16.8 percent to $735.1 million, hurt by the divestitures of the Almaden, Inglenook and certain Pacific Northwest wine brands, as well as the strong U.S. dollar, which reduces the value of overseas sales.
Excluding the currency impact, net sales fell 3 percent.
Wine sales fell 4 percent, as declines of 16 percent in Europe and 4 percent in Australia and New Zealand offset a 1 percent increase in North America. The company cited increasingly challenging economic conditions, especially in the UK and Australia, as well as its decisions to raise prices and reduce the number of products it sells.
Spirits sales rose 6 percent, driven by the Svedka vodka brand.
Constellation said sales at its Crown Imports joint venture with Grupo Modelo
Constellation said its restructuring moves should produce savings of about $25 million in the current year, fiscal 2010, and more than $50 million by the end of fiscal 2011. Yet it expects to incur one-time charges of about $112 million from the actions, including about $106 million this year.
Constellation forecast fiscal 2010 earnings of $1.60 to $1.70 per share, excluding items. Analysts on average were expecting $1.65, according to Reuters Estimates.
Constellation shares closed at $11.64 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, down almost 25 percent since January 7, when it reported third-quarter results. (Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Derek Caney and Lisa Von Ahn)