C&C Profits From 30% Revenue Rise
Drinks group C&C has reported its fifth consecutive year of earnings growth, and is targeting a mid-single digit operating profit increase in its current financial year.

The Dublin-based group — whose chief revenue streams are the Irish cider market and the Scottish lager market, via its Bulmers/Magners and Tennent's brands, yesterday reported net revenue growth of 30%, to €620.2m for the 12 months to the end of February.

Pre-tax profit grew by 6% to €116.2m, while pre-exceptional operating profit (integration costs led to an exceptional charge of nearly €21m) grew by 10.6% to €126.7m. Adjusted diluted earnings per share grew by just under 6% to 29.5c.

Growth was mainly driven by the aforementioned Scottish and Irish divisions.

In Ireland, C&C's long alcoholic drinks volumes were up 1.1% and outperformed a flat market. Irish divisional operating profit rose by 9.4% to €43m, with net revenue up by 2.2% at €94.2m. Cider net revenue, alone, was up by nearly 2% in Ireland.

While the Magners brand saw a 10% volume decline, C&C said its cider performance in Britain stabilised in the second half of the year.

Net revenue in the UK Cider division fell by 15% to €112.8m, with operating profit down by nearly 30% to €20.7m, but Magners performed well and grew its market share in Scotland.

Profits, at the group's international export business, were up by nearly 70%; while management expressed confidence in its cider prospects in the US, despite under-performing the market in the past year.