Constellation Brands Inc., distributor of Corona beer and Arbor Mist wines, yesterday reaffirmed its outlook for the third quarter and year. Factors taken into consideration include a grocery store strike, the fires in California and the recently-announced Mexican price increase.

For the third quarter ending 30 Nov 2003, Constellation expects comparable earnings of 76-80 cents a share, and earnings per share of between 65-69 cents a share. For the fiscal year ending 29 February 2004, the company predicts comparable earnings per share of US$2.44-$2.51, and earnings per share of between US$1.89 and $1.96.

According to Reuters Research, analysts expect the company to earn 79 cents in Q3, and $2.49 for the year.

The beer price increase in the fourth quarter will be neutral to earnings per share, the company said. Distributors will be informed about the timing and amount of the price increase towards the end of November.

Constellation also expects additional imported beer sales to modestly benefit earnings in the third quarter.