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US: Constellation warns of challenges ahead

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Constellation Brands has warned of "challenges" ahead in fiscal 2008 due to fierce price competition in the UK wine market, the wine glut in Australia and the decision to cut its wine inventories in the US.

The US-based company, which is the world's largest wine producer by volume, said today (1 March) that it expects its net sales to fall by 12 to 14% during fiscal 2008.

"Absent the UK situation and our decision to reduce US wine inventories at distributors, our core branded beverage alcohol business is expected to perform well," said chairman and CEO Richard Sands.

Sands spoke of his "confidence" in Constellation's US and Canadian wine businesses and his "enthusiasm" about the potential of Crown Imports, the company's beer venture in the US.

Constellation said it expects to close the acquisition of vodka brand Svedka later this month.


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