World Cup and warm summer lift C&C drinks sales
Core revenue at Bulmers and Magners drink manufacturer rises 6.4%
Bulmers performed well for C&C in the first six months of its fiscal year. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Irish drinks group C&C said favourable summer weather and the impact of the World Cup helped lift sales of its products in the first half of its fiscal year.
Core C&C revenue rose 6.4 per cent, with operating profit up 4 per cent. Taking into account the company’s acquisitions of Matthew Clark and Bibendum, overall group revenue rose 186 per cent with operating profit up 16 per cent.
The company, which includes the Bulmers and Magners brands in its product portfolio, said revenue at its Irish business rose 6.6 per cent, with volumes up 4.8 per cent. Operating profit rose marginally during the period, increasing by 0.4 per cent.
Overall, Bulmers revenue for 4 per cent, with volume increasing by 5 per cent. Magners, meanwhile, was up 11 per cent in value and 12 per cent in volume.
Tennents showed a more muted performance, with volume up 0.1 per cent. Revenue for the brand increased by 7 per cent.
In C&C’s core business, wholesale and wine showed a rise of 11 per cent in revenue terms and a 2 per cent climb in volume versus last year.
Long alcoholic drink volumes in the Republic of Ireland rose 3 per cent in the six-month period, with 8 per cent growth in the off-trade and on-trade volumes down 2 per cent. Cider gained in popularity over the period, growing its share of the LAD market to 13.8 per cent from the previous year.
Bulmers saw volume growth of 5 per cent, with Magners in Northern Ireland showing double-digit growth.
C&C’s Dublin craft brewery Five Lamps increased revenues by 50 per cent, and Belgian lager Heverlee grew volumes in Northern Ireland by 21 cent.
However, despite forecasts for continued economic growth, C&C said competition in the drinks market remained intense, and limited economic growth outside urban areas and the uncertainty around Brexit was weighing on consumer spending in the North and rural areas of the country.
Sales in Britain rose 8.7 per cent in volume, with cider up 6 per cent and beer rising 3 per cent. Magners showed an 8 per cent increase in Scotland, and 12 per cent across the rest of Britain.
“Trading through the first six months has been strong driven by favourable summer weather and the impact of the World Cup. Encouragingly, our key brands have all delivered market share in their key markets and year-on-year revenue growth,” said Stephen Glancey, C&C Group chief executive.
“Since the acquisition of Matthew Clark and Bibendum, our absolute focus has been the stabilisation of the businesses. By the end of September, we settled £129 million of monies owed to suppliers, paid taxes owed of £31 million and collected £146 million of monies due from customers.”
Mr Glancey said C&C’s core business was “in good health with a strong balance sheet”.
“Management are confident in the medium term that Matthew Clark and Bibendum will each unlock significant value and opportunity for all shareholders,” he said.