C&C to push Magners in global markets


C&C CHIEF executive Stephen Glancy was in London this week to present to the annual Consumer Analyst Group of Europe.

In Ireland, the “mantra” is to “hold earnings” during the recession, he said. With Bulmers holding a 90 per cent share of cider in pubs, its growth focus is on pushing Tennent’s lager. Tennent’s is now available in 1,200 pubs here – about one in six – with a tasty operating margin of 20 per cent.

Glancy reminded those present that C&C had spent €220 million in the middle of the last decade, under Maurice Pratt’s watch, adding manufacturing capacity in Clonmel that has never been utilised. This money has been written off by the company.

In Scotland, Tennent’s is the leading lager brand while Magners has about 23 per cent of the cider market. “There’s still a bit to go for [in cider],” he said. In England and Wales, C&C has about 20 per cent of the cider market versus Heineken’s 60 per cent.

It’s worth noting that Britain accounts for roughly half of global cider consumption. “Internationally is where we see the opportunity [for Magners],” he added. The cider category is expected to grow by 4 per cent globally between 2011 and 2016 while beer contracts by the same amount.

Glancy is eyeing expansion for Magners in North America, Australia, Scandinavia and Spain. Belgian Joris Brams has been appointed as managing director of the international division, and five-year distribution deals have been signed with Suntory in the US and Moosehead in Canada. Like-for-like revenues in this division rose 27 per cent in the first nine months of full year 2012 and it recently acquired Hornsby’s in the US.

Glancy signalled that C&C has “financial firepower” of €400 million, which could be used for further strategic acquisitions.

Building out its global cider business will be a slow burn. Glancy stressed that there won’t be any “big bets” placed on it by the company. Given its previous experience with Magners’ expansion, this is probably wise.