Monday 11 December 2017

C&C may join exodus and move its primary listing to London

Drinks group C&C Group held its annual general meeting yesterday at The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, where chief executive Stephen Glancey (left) showed off his wares to a shareholder
Drinks group C&C Group held its annual general meeting yesterday at The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, where chief executive Stephen Glancey (left) showed off his wares to a shareholder
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

DRINKS firm C&C could become the latest major firm to move its primary listing from the Irish Stock Exchange.

The cider maker's chief executive Stephen Glancey said that while his firm had "no plans to move at the moment", it had looked at whether a move away from Dublin would be beneficial.

"We have a dual listing between here and London and we're pretty happy with that and the analyst coverage we get.

"For a relatively small company we get pretty good analyst coverage and great support through Davy in Dublin so it's not that we wake up in the morning and think let's move," he said after the firm's annual general meeting in Dublin.

"It's not what management wants to do but we've seen other people go.

"But let's be honest, it wouldn't take terribly much for Dublin to come under pressure if one of the big guys was to (leave the exchange)," he added.

The exchange has seen CRH and Greencore move their primary listing to London, while a slew of other firms have seen their value plummet.

C&C chairman Brian Stewart told shareholders at the company's annual meeting that there were no plans to move "at this time" but any future change would be done "in shareholders' best interests".

Mr Glancey was speaking after the company released a strong management statement to coincide with the meeting. Despite plunging cider volumes in the UK and Ireland, international growth stopped losses and the company's guidance remains unchanged.

In a statement covering the three months to the end of May -- C&C's first quarter -- cider volumes in Ireland fell 5.4pc, while revenue from here slumped 11.5pc year on year.

Volumes

The fall was worse in the UK, however, where volumes of Magners cider plummeted 21.8pc. Revenue from the UK overall dropped 25.1pc.

The loss was due in a large part to the poor weather, the company said. The first quarter is traditionally one of the weaker parts of C&C's year.

In the Republic, the market for drinks such as beer and cider was "very volatile" with April being "particularly difficult".

"Volumes improved with a spell of good weather towards the end of May and the beginning of key summer events, highlighting the resilience of the Bulmers brand. Tennent's continues to grow volume in the Irish market and the recent launch of Caledonia Smooth ale has been well received in the on-trade and initial feedback is encouraging," C&C said.

Much of the ground that was lost in the first quarter is expected to be made up over the summer, with Euro 2012 and the Olympics both expected to contribute strongly to C&C's bottom line come the end of the year.

Encouragingly, the struggles in the UK and Ireland were offset by surging growth overseas. Total export volume grew 62.9pc, while net revenue added 47.4pc.

"A few years ago, we didn't make money internationally and we didn't have Tennent's," said Mr Glancey. "Having the lager takes the seasonality out of the business and as a result we are much more balanced then we were a few years ago," he added.

C&C's shares closed up 1.8pc at €3.23 in Dublin.

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