C&C back at drinks table
Five years after exiting soft drinks, C&C is back in the game after paying €12.4 million to purchase the Gleeson Group, in addition to assuming debt of €45.6 million.
It had flagged such a move in May when it announced its full-year results.
In 2007, C&C pocketed a tidy €249 million by selling Ballygowan water and Club fizzy drinks to Britvic, which has spent most of the time since then restructuring the business as revenues continue to get squeezed in the recession.
This time around, C&C will own Tipperary water, number two to Ballygowan in this market, and Finches soft drinks.
More importantly, it gives C&C access to Gleeson’s distribution network, which serves more than 4,000 pubs and 6,000 other outlets from 11 depots across the country.
This is something it didn’t have before.
C&C chief Stephen Glancey preferred to characterise the deal as another component of a “multi-beverage strategy” being pursed by the group rather than simply a return to soft drinks.
“We need a portfolio of products to offer to the market and we think the best way to protect Bulmers and to protect Tennent’s is to be able to offer that,” Glancey told me yesterday.
He said it also potentially opened the door to producing water and soft drinks products for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
This deal comes hot on the heels of C&C’s $305 million takeover of Vermont Hard Cider in the US.
While these will be a lot for C&C to digest, Glancey isn’t ruling out more transactions and the company still has a war chest of €150 million for deals.
“If an offer comes up we’ll look at it. This doesn’t preclude further acquisitions.”
Fighting talk from the Scot.