Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Description of Business, Basis of Presentation, and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Description of Business, Basis of Presentation, and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Feb. 29, 2020
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  

Description of business
Constellation Brands, Inc. and its subsidiaries operate primarily in the beverage alcohol industry. Unless the context otherwise requires, the terms “Company,” “CBI,” “we,” “our,” or “us” refer to Constellation Brands, Inc. and its subsidiaries. We are an international beverage alcohol company with a broad portfolio of consumer-preferred, high-end imported and craft beer brands, and higher-end wine and spirits brands.

Basis of presentation
Principles of consolidation
Our consolidated financial statements include our accounts and our majority-owned and controlled domestic and foreign subsidiaries. In addition, we have an equally-owned joint venture with Owens-Illinois. The joint venture owns and operates a state-of-the-art glass production plant which provides bottles exclusively for our brewery located in Nava, Coahuila, Mexico (the “Nava Brewery”). We have determined that we are the primary beneficiary of this variable interest entity and accordingly, the results of operations of the joint venture are reported in the Beer segment and are included in our consolidated results of operations. All intercompany accounts and transactions are eliminated in consolidation.

Equity method investments
If we are not required to consolidate our investment in another entity, we use the equity method when we (i) can exercise significant influence over the other entity and (ii) hold common stock and/or in-substance common stock of the other entity. Under the equity method, investments are carried at cost, plus or minus our equity in the increases and decreases in the investee’s net assets after the date of acquisition. We monitor our equity method investments for factors indicating other-than-temporary impairment. Dividends received from the investee reduce the carrying amount of the investment.

Management’s use of estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

Summary of significant accounting policies
Revenue recognition
Our revenue (referred to in our financial statements as “sales”) consists primarily of the sale of beer, wine, and spirits domestically in the U.S. Sales of products are for cash or otherwise agreed-upon credit terms. Our payment terms vary by location and customer, however, the time period between when revenue is recognized and when payment is due is not significant. Our customers consist primarily of wholesale distributors. Our revenue generating activities have a single performance obligation and are recognized at the point in time when control transfers and our obligation has been fulfilled, which is when the related goods are shipped or delivered to the customer, depending upon the method of distribution, and shipping terms. We have elected to treat shipping as a fulfillment activity. Revenue is measured as the amount of consideration we expect to receive in exchange for the sale of our product. Our sales terms do not allow for a right of return except for matters related to any manufacturing defects on our part. Amounts billed to customers for shipping and handling are included in sales.

As noted, the majority of our revenues are generated from the domestic sale of beer, wine, and spirits to wholesale distributors in the U.S. Our other revenue generating activities include the export of certain of our products to select international markets, as well as the sale of our products through state alcohol beverage control agencies and on-premise, retail locations in certain markets. We have evaluated these other revenue generating activities under the disaggregation disclosure criteria outlined within the amended guidance and concluded that these other revenue generating activities are immaterial for separate disclosure. See Note 23 for disclosure of net sales by product type.

Sales reflect reductions attributable to consideration given to customers in various customer incentive programs, including pricing discounts on single transactions, volume discounts, promotional and advertising allowances, coupons, and rebates. This variable consideration is recognized as a reduction of the transaction price based upon expected amounts at the time revenue for the corresponding product sale is recognized. For example, customer promotional discount programs are entered into with certain distributors for certain periods of time. The amount ultimately reimbursed to distributors is determined based upon agreed-upon promotional discounts which are applied to distributors’ sales to retailers. Other common forms of variable consideration include volume rebates for meeting established sales targets, and coupons and mail-in rebates offered to the end consumer. The determination of the reduction of the transaction price for variable consideration requires that we make certain estimates and assumptions that affect the timing and amounts of revenue and liabilities recognized. We estimate this variable consideration by taking into account factors such as the nature of the promotional activity, historical information, and current trends, availability of actual results and expectations of customer and consumer behavior.

Excise taxes remitted to tax authorities are government-imposed excise taxes on our beverage alcohol products. Excise taxes are shown on a separate line item as a reduction of sales and are recognized in our results of operations when the related product sale is recognized. Excise taxes are recognized as a current liability in other accrued expenses and liabilities, with the liability subsequently reduced when the taxes are remitted to the tax authority.

Cost of product sold
The types of costs included in cost of product sold are raw materials, packaging materials, manufacturing costs, plant administrative support and overheads, and freight and warehouse costs (including distribution network costs). Distribution network costs include inbound freight charges and outbound shipping and handling costs, purchasing and receiving costs, inspection costs, warehousing and internal transfer costs.

Selling, general, and administrative expenses
The types of costs included in selling, general, and administrative expenses consist predominately of advertising and non-manufacturing administrative and overhead costs. Distribution network costs are included in cost of product sold. We expense advertising costs as incurred, shown, or distributed. Advertising expense for the years ended February 29, 2020, February 28, 2019, and February 28, 2018, was $769.5 million, $700.8 million, and $615.7 million, respectively.

Foreign currency translation
The functional currency of our foreign subsidiaries is generally the respective local currency. The translation from the applicable foreign currencies to U.S. dollars is performed for balance sheet accounts using exchange rates in effect at the balance sheet date and for revenue and expense accounts using a weighted average exchange rate for the period. The resulting translation adjustments are recognized as a component of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (Loss) (“AOCI”). Gains or losses resulting from foreign currency denominated transactions are included in selling, general, and administrative expenses.

Cash and cash equivalents
Cash equivalents consist of highly liquid investments with an original maturity when purchased of three months or less and are stated at cost, which approximates fair value.

Fair value of financial instruments
We calculate the estimated fair value of financial instruments using quoted market prices whenever available. When quoted market prices are not available, we use standard pricing models for various types of financial instruments (such as forwards, options, swaps, and convertible debt) which take into account the present value of estimated future cash flows (see Note 7).

Derivative instruments
We enter into derivative instruments to manage our exposure to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, commodity prices, and interest rates. We enter into derivatives for risk management purposes only, including derivatives designated in hedge accounting relationships as well as those derivatives utilized as economic hedges. We do not enter into derivatives for trading or speculative purposes. We recognize all derivatives as either assets or liabilities and measure those instruments at estimated fair value (see Notes 6 and 7). We present our derivative positions gross on our balance sheets.

The change in the fair value of outstanding cash flow hedges is deferred in stockholders’ equity as a component of AOCI. For all periods presented herein, gains or losses deferred in stockholders’ equity as a component of AOCI are recognized in our results of operations in the same period in which the hedged items are recognized and on the same financial statement line item as the hedged items.

Changes in fair values for derivative instruments not designated in a hedge accounting relationship are recognized directly in our results of operations each period and on the same financial statement line item as the hedged item. For purposes of measuring segment operating performance, the net gain (loss) from the changes in fair value of our undesignated commodity derivative contracts, prior to settlement, is reported outside of segment operating results until such time that the underlying exposure is recognized in the segment operating results. Upon settlement, the net gain (loss) from the changes in fair value of the undesignated commodity derivative contracts is reported in the appropriate operating segment, allowing our operating segment results to reflect the economic effects of the commodity derivative contracts without the resulting unrealized mark to fair value volatility.

Cash flows from the settlement of derivatives, including both economic hedges and those designated in hedge accounting relationships, appear on our statements of cash flows in the same categories as the cash flows of the hedged items.

Inventories are stated at the lower of cost (computed in accordance with the first-in, first-out method) or net realizable value. Elements of cost include materials, labor, and overhead.

Bulk wine inventories are included as in-process inventories within current assets, in accordance with the general practices of the wine industry, although a portion of such inventories may be aged for periods greater than one year. A substantial portion of barreled whiskey and brandy will not be sold within one year because of the duration of the aging process. All barreled whiskey and brandy are classified as in-process inventories and are included in current assets, in accordance with industry practice. Warehousing, insurance, value added taxes, and other carrying charges applicable to barreled whiskey and brandy held for aging are included in inventory costs.

We assess the valuation of our inventories and reduce the carrying value of those inventories that are obsolete or in excess of our forecasted usage to their estimated net realizable value based on analyses and assumptions including, but not limited to, historical usage, future demand, and market requirements.

Property, plant, and equipment
Property, plant, and equipment is stated at cost. Major additions and improvements are recognized as an increase to the property accounts, while maintenance and repairs are expensed as incurred. The cost of properties sold or otherwise disposed of and the related accumulated depreciation
are eliminated from the balance sheet accounts at the time of disposal and resulting gains and losses are included as a component of operating income.

Interest incurred relating to expansion, construction, and optimization of facilities is capitalized to construction in progress. We cease the capitalization of interest when construction activities are substantially completed and the facility and related assets are available for their intended use. At this point, construction in progress is transferred to the appropriate asset class.

Depreciation is computed primarily using the straight-line method over the following estimated useful lives:
Land improvements
15 to 32
16 to 26
Buildings and improvements
10 to 50
Machinery and equipment
3 to 35
Motor vehicles
3 to 8

Goodwill and other intangible assets
Goodwill is allocated to the reporting unit in which the business that created the goodwill resides. A reporting unit is an operating segment, or a business unit one level below that operating segment, for which discrete financial information is prepared and regularly reviewed by segment management. We review our goodwill and indefinite lived intangible assets annually for impairment, or sooner, if events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. We use January 1 as our annual impairment test measurement date. Indefinite lived intangible assets consist principally of trademarks. Intangible assets determined to have a finite life, primarily customer relationships, are amortized over their estimated useful lives and are subject to review for impairment when events or circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. Note 9 provides a summary of intangible assets segregated between amortizable and nonamortizable amounts.

Indemnification liabilities
We have indemnified respective parties against certain liabilities that may arise in connection with certain acquisitions and divestitures. Indemnification liabilities are recognized when probable and estimable and included in deferred income taxes and other liabilities (see Note 17).

Income taxes
We use the asset and liability method of accounting for income taxes. This method accounts for deferred income taxes by applying statutory rates in effect at the balance sheet date to the difference between the financial reporting and tax bases of assets and liabilities. Certain income earned by foreign subsidiaries (“GILTI”) is subject to U.S. tax. We treat the tax effect of GILTI as a current period tax expense when incurred. We provide deferred income taxes, consisting primarily of foreign withholding and state taxes, on all applicable unremitted earnings of our foreign subsidiaries. Interest and penalties are recognized as a component of (provision for) benefit from income taxes.

Net income (loss) per common share attributable to CBI
We have two classes of common stock with a material number of shares outstanding: Class A Common Stock and Class B Convertible Common Stock (see Note 18). In addition, we have another class of common stock with an immaterial number of shares outstanding: Class 1 Common Stock (see Note 18). If we pay a cash dividend on Class B Convertible Common Stock, each share of Class A Common Stock will receive an amount at least ten percent greater than the amount of the cash dividend per share paid on Class B Convertible Common Stock. Class B Convertible Common Stock shares are convertible into shares of Class A Common Stock on a one-to-one basis at any time at the option of the holder.

We use the two-class method for the computation and presentation of net income (loss) per common share attributable to CBI (hereafter referred to as “net income (loss) per common share”) (see Note 20). The two-class method is an earnings allocation formula that calculates basic and diluted net income (loss) per common share for each class of common stock separately based on dividends declared and participation rights in undistributed earnings as if all such earnings had been distributed during the period. Under the two-class method, Class A Common Stock is assumed to receive a ten percent greater participation in undistributed earnings (losses) than Class B Convertible Common Stock, in accordance with the respective minimum dividend rights of each class of stock.

Net income (loss) per common share – basic excludes the effect of common stock equivalents and is computed using the two-class method. Net income (loss) per common share – diluted for Class A Common Stock reflects the potential dilution that could result if securities or other contracts to issue common stock were exercised or converted into common stock. Net income (loss) per common share – diluted for Class A Common Stock is computed using the more dilutive of the if-converted or two-class method. Net income (loss) per common share – diluted for Class A Common Stock is computed using the if-converted method and assumes the exercise of stock options using the treasury stock method and the conversion of Class B Convertible Common Stock as this method is more dilutive than the two-class method. Net income (loss) per common share – diluted for Class B Convertible Common Stock is computed using the two-class method and does not assume conversion of Class B Convertible Common Stock into shares of Class A Common Stock.

Stock-based employee compensation
We have two stock-based employee compensation plans (see Note 19). We apply grant date fair-value-based measurement methods in accounting for our stock-based payment arrangements and recognize all costs resulting from stock-based payment transactions, net of expected forfeitures, ratably over the requisite service period. Stock-based awards are subject to specific vesting conditions, generally time vesting, or upon retirement, disability, or death of the employee (as defined by the plan), if earlier. For awards granted to retirement-eligible employees, we recognize compensation expense ratably over the period from the date of grant to the date of retirement-eligibility.

Recently adopted accounting guidance
In February 2016, the FASB issued guidance for the accounting for leases. Under this guidance, a lessee recognizes assets and liabilities on its balance sheet for most leases. Lease expense continues to be consistent with previous guidance. Additionally, this guidance requires enhanced disclosures regarding the amount, timing, and uncertainty of cash flows arising from leasing arrangements.

We adopted this guidance on March 1, 2019, using the modified retrospective approach, accordingly, prior period balances and disclosures have not been restated. We elected the package of transition practical expedients for expired or existing contracts, which retains prior conclusions reached on lease identification, classification, and initial direct costs incurred.

We finalized the implementation of changes to our accounting policies, systems and controls, including a new leasing software to capture the required data for accounting and disclosure. The adoption of this guidance resulted in the recognition of operating lease right-of-use assets of $585.4 million and operating lease liabilities of $619.7 million as of March 1, 2019, and did not have a material impact on our results of operations or liquidity.

For additional information on leases, refer to Note 16.