Competition from Heineken helps keep revenues down at Bulmers manufacturer C&C

Company said its new product offerings in the Republic has ‘resonated’ with millenials

The manufacturer, marketer and distributor of Bulmers, beer, wine, soft drinks and bottled water announces results on Thursday. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The manufacturer, marketer and distributor of Bulmers, beer, wine, soft drinks and bottled water announces results on Thursday. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Bulmers/Magners cidermaker C&C, which on Thursday reported a dip in first half revenues and flat operating profits, says it has “seen most of the pain” from competition in the Irish pubs market brought by Heineken’s Orchard Thieves.

Bulmers volumes in Ireland were down 5 per cent in the six months to the end of August, due in part to lower draught sales.

Stephen Glancey, C&C’s chief executive, said Heineken had tried to “buy Bulmers off the bar” in the draught cider market.

“It’s tough when multinational players have a go at your draught. It’s tough when you’re a small, Irish player and you pay all your taxes here. But I think we’ve seen most of the pain,” he said.

Net revenues at C&C were down 4 per cent to €273.1 million. Operating profit was “broadly unchanged” at €50.5 million.

The company completed acquisitions in the period totalling €12.3 million, as well as share buybacks of €30.6 million. It proposed an interim dividend increase of 5 per cent. Mr Glancey said it may pursue further share buybacks after it has invested in the business.

Millennials

Bulmers’ “100 per cent Irish” campaign and the launch of its Outcider product delivered volume growth of 2 per cent in the retail channel. Mr Glancey said its new offerings in the Republic had resonated with millennials.

Elsewhere, C&C highlighted a “strong performance” in its Tennent’s business, with a new brand campaign “driving share growth”.

British cider volumes were flat, including a first year contribution from the acquired craft cider brand Orchard Pig. Magners brand volumes were down 6 per cent. C&C said there had been “continued growth “in export volumes, which were up 5 per cent.

C&C previously announced a €40 million investment in Admiral Taverns, expected to be complete by the end of November.