Crown Imports should attract news business under Constellation

Crown Imports should attract news business under Constellation

Crown Imports can become a “master” distributor under Constellation Brands, offering access to the US market for international brands not wanting to use Anheuser-Busch InBev, an analyst has said.

Constellation is set to take full control of Crown Imports as its JV partner, Grupo Modelo, is selling its stake to satisfy anti-trust concerns over the Mexican brewer's US$20bn merger with A-B InBev.

In a note today (23 January), Stifel Nicolaus analyst Mark Swartzberg said Crown's deal last year with Carlsberg to distribute its Somersby cider brand highlighted its status. “It illustrates Crown's value as a 'beer major' who can provide market access to distributors for high-margin brand owners not wanting to use ABI or another major with too many of its own brands to emphasise,” the analyst said.

Last week an analyst suggested A-B InBev's Modelo deal could collapse as the US Department of Justice is insisting on “draconian” measures.

But, the Crown deal remains on track to complete by March, according to Swartzberg, who met with Constellation's CFO Bob Ryder yesterday. 

“We come away continuing to see high probability of a Modelo-Crown transaction at or a bit better than proposed with a closing by the end of March,” the analyst said.

A-B Inbev maintains that the Modelo deal will complete in the first quarter.