By Anne Brockhoff

Constellation Brands Inc. has created a new international unit as part of its drive to double sales in the next five years, the Fairport, New York-based company said Monday.

The new division, to be called Constellation International, will be based in Bristol, UK, and used to develop US exports and global business opportunities, Chief Executive Richards Sands said in a statement.

"This unified approach to international business development will also allow us to more efficiently enter other export markets and better research the global beverage alcohol world for transaction opportunities," Sands said.

Constellation's business has so far been confined to the US and the
UK, where its Matthew Clark unit is the country's biggest wine marketer.

The company, which distributes Grupo Modelo's Corona brands in the western half of the US posted net sales of US$2.4 billion in fiscal 2001.

Tim Kelly, formerly president of Diageo's Guiness/Bass Import Co. USA, will head the unit, Constellation said.