Molson Coors weeks away from deciding fate of its original Montreal brewery

MONTREAL – Molson Coors says it is weeks away from announcing the fate of its original brewery in Montreal.

The company is reviewing the feasibility of a building a new brewery on its site in Old Montreal and is expected to make a decision in early summer, Molson Coors Canada CEO Stewart Glendinning said Tuesday.

“If it’s better to invest in the current one, we will,” he said in an interview. “If it’s better to build a new one, we will, but either way it’s good news for the province.”

Molson Coors received $110 million in net proceeds from the $185 million sale of its operations in Vancouver in the first quarter. The company will continue to produce beer at the B.C. site for up to five years until it finds a location to build a more efficient-production facility, it said.

The Denver and Montreal-based company (NYSE:TAP) beat expectations as its net profit almost doubled to US$158.8 million or 78 cents per diluted share in the first quarter, helped by the sale of the Vancouver brewery. That compared to US$81.1 million or 43 cents per share a year earlier.

Molson Coors, which reports in U.S. dollars, saw its underlying net income grow 28 per cent to $110.3 million or 54 cents per share after excluding one-time items. Net sales fell six per cent to $657.2 million including currency fluctuations.

Sales in Canada fell to $268 million from $313.5 million due to termination of an agreement to sell Miller brands, increased competition and weak economic conditions in Western Canada and a $27.8 million negative impact from a weaker dollar.