* Raises FY adj. profit, beer sales forecast
* Net sales of beer rise 8 pct to $831.3 mln in Q3
* Shares rise as much as 7.6 pct to record high (Adds details on new plant, expansions; updates shares)
Jan 7 (Reuters) - Alcoholic beverage maker Constellation Brands Inc reported better-than-expected quarterly net sales and profit, and said it plans to spend $1.5 billion to build a brewery in Mexico to meet growing demand for its Mexican beer brands.
The company’s shares rose as much as 7.6 percent to a record high of $154.05.
Constellation has been benefiting from strong demand from a rising Hispanic population in the United States who have spurred demand for its beer brands such as Modelo Especial and Corona. These beers, which are higher priced and considered premium, have also garnered a wide following from other American consumers.
Net sales of beer rose 8 percent to $831.3 million in the third quarter ended Nov. 30, accounting for more than half of the company’s net sales.
Operating income from selling beer rose 20 percent, primarily due to volume growth and higher prices, Constellation said.
Constellation has been investing heavily in building new plants and expanding capacities at facilities as demand for its beers continue to rise.
The company said it would build the new brewery in Mexicali, Mexico. Mexicali is located close to the border of the state of California, Constellation’s largest beer market.
The new plant, expected to be completed in four to five years, will have 10 million hectoliters of production capacity and will have the ability to scale to 20 million hectoliters.
Constellation said it would also invest $500 million in land, water rights and site requirements to increase the new plant’s capacity in the future.
The company said it would spend $250 million to expand the capacity of its existing brewery in Nava, Mexico to 27.5 million hectoliters from 25 million hectoliters by 2018.
Constellation now expects full-year adjusted profit of $5.30-$5.40 per share, and forecast beer sales growth of about 12-14 percent.
The company had previously forecast adjusted earnings of $5.00-$5.20 per share and net beer sales growth of about 10 percent.
Net income attributable to the company rose 22 percent to $270.5 million, or $1.33 per share, in the third quarter.
Excluding items, Constellation earned $1.42 per share, beating the average analyst estimate of $1.30, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net sales rose 6.4 percent to $1.64 billion, higher than the $1.62 billion analysts had expected. (Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer and Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Maju Samuel)