Sunday 15 December 2019

C&C finally complete €58m integration of Gleeson units

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Bulmers maker C&C has completed the integration of distributor Gleeson Group almost two years after acquiring it in a €58m deal.

C&C revealed the acquisition back in 2012.

It paid €12.4m in cash for the business, with €4.4m of that deferred for a year. The Gleeson Group also had debt of €45.6m, which was assumed by C&C.

As a standalone entity, Gleeson Group was already the largest drinks distributor in the country.

C&C said that it has spent the past year working on a "strategic consolidation" of C&C's existing business in Ireland with the Gleeson Group to create a single entity.

As part of that process, the Bulmers' marketing and sales team has been amalgamated with the Gleeson wholesale and distribution unit to produce what C&C said was a "streamlined" presence in the market.

The combined distribution, wholesale and marketing entity is now called C&C Gleeson.

C&C's portfolio, which includes Bulmers as well as Tennent's, AB INBev brands and the company's new Irish beer offering, Clonmel 1650, will be enlarged by leading wine and soft drinks brands such as Santa Rita, Laurent Perrier, Finches and Tipperary Water.

C&C Gleeson commercial director Stephen Meleady claimed the group's distribution footprint on the island of Ireland is now "unmatched".

"Acquiring the country's leading drinks distribution and wholesale businesses was the next logical step for C&C, as we continue the growth of the business through a combination of organic expansion and strategic acquisitions," he said.

Tom McCusker, managing director of C&C Group Ireland, remains as managing director of C&C Gleeson. The business has operations in Dublin and Belfast, as well as Clonmel and Borrisoleigh in Co Tipperary.

C&C said C&C Gleeson will maintain a "strong commitment" to Tipperary, where it has its roots.

Plans are in place for the construction of a craft brewery at the Bulmers plant in Clonmel.

C&C Gleeson said it will continue to sponsor a number of arts and music festivals.

C&C Gleeson marketing director Brian Beattie said the operation is now "more rounded and ultimately more compelling".

In an interim management statement in July, C&C said that it believes the fundamentals of its core markets and position within those markets support continued earnings growth. It expects to deliver a small percentage rise in operating profit this financial year.

C&C said during the summer that the trading environment for cider in England and Wales remains challenging but that the two markets are now "less relevant" to the group's economics.

In its last financial year, C&C reported a 30pc rise in net revenue to €620.2m.

Its adjusted operating profit in the period was 10.6pc higher at €126.7m.

Irish Independent

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