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April 9 (Reuters) - Alcoholic beverage maker Constellation Brands Inc forecast a profit for the fiscal year ending February that fell short of analysts' estimates and said it would spend more than $1 billion this year to expand its beer business.
Shares of Constellation, whose brands include Corona beer and Robert Mondavi wine, opened slightly down in early trading on Thursday even as the company announced its first ever quarterly dividend.
Constellation has benefited from strong demand for its Mexican beer brands, Corona and Modelo, from a growing Hispanic population in the United States.
The company said it would spend about $1.05-$1.15 billion on its beer business, primarily to expand capacity in its Nava brewery in Mexico and on a bottling plant joint venture with Owens-Illinois Inc.
Constellation's beer sales rose 11 percent in the fourth quarter ended Feb. 28.
For the year ending Feb. 2016, the company forecast a profit of $4.55-$4.75 per share. Analysts on average were expecting $4.85 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company said it would pay a quarterly dividend of 31 cents per share on Class A common stock and 28 cents per share on Class B common stock starting May 22.
Net income attributable to Constellation Brands rose 36.5 percent to $214.6 million, or $1.06 per share in the fourth quarter.
Net sales rose 5 percent to $1.36 billion.
Excluding items, the company earned $1.03 per share.
Analysts on average had expected a profit of 94 cents per share on revenue of $1.36 billion.
Constellation's shares have been on a tear, having risen 46 percent in the past year. The stock is up 21 percent this year, far outpacing the 1 percent increase in the S&P 500 index . (Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)