C&C to consider share buyback this year

Company set to launch range of Irish craft beers to be produced in Clonmel

C&C reported sales growth for the year to the end of February of about 30% to just over €620 million. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

C&C reported sales growth for the year to the end of February of about 30% to just over €620 million. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Wed, May 21, 2014, 01:00

Stephen Glancey, chief executive of Bulmers maker C&C, told analysts it would consider launching a share buyback this year as its share price rose by more than 6 per cent yesterday following the release of its annual results.

“We would rather spend our money on the business, but there is only so many acquisitions we can digest at any one time,” he said. “We will look at it [a share buyback]. But it is all about the maths.”

C&C is also set to launch a range of Irish craft beers, to be produced at its main Clonmel manufacturing facility. The first of the new beers will be called Clonmel 1650, Mr Glancey announced yesterday.

350 pubs
The new 4.2 per cent alcoholic strength lager will be distributed to about 350 pubs in areas including Clonmel, Kilkenny, Galway and Dublin, and will be officially launched next month.

It will be produced at the company’s new €2 million modular manufacturing facility at its base in Clonmel, which has a capacity of 100,000 hectalitres. The drink is named after the Siege of Clonmel by Oliver Cromwell in the year 1650, when Irish rebels killed most of the English invaders.

“We are looking forward to the launch of Clonmel 1650, and we will be happy to extend this to other products. We are optimistic of further development of the brand portfolio in Ireland this year,” said Mr Glancey.

C&C yesterday reported sales growth for the year to the end of February of about 30 per cent to just over €620 million, while its operating profits grew by more than 10 per cent to almost €127 million. The numbers were boosted, however, by acquisitions in Ireland and the US.

The performance of the business across its various geographical divisions was varied. Its Irish and Scottish business performed strongly, contributing 74 per cent of the company’s earnings.

International division
A further 13 per cent of its earnings came from its international division, although its US cider business performed poorly as the company digested its $305 million purchase of the Vermont Hard Cider Company.

The remaining 13 per cent came from its business in England and Wales, which also suffered, with its UK cider business declining by almost 13 per cent.