C&C backing 'life-saving' alcohol price crackdown
The CEO of Bulmers maker C&C has insisted the group welcomes minimum alcohol pricing and new rules on advertising.
Ahead of an impending UK Supreme Court ruling on foot of an appeal against plans to introduce minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland, Stephen Glancey said that from a corporate social responsibility (CSR) point of view, minimum pricing "makes sense". Scottish politicians voted in 2012 to introduce minimum alcohol pricing, but the move has been in a legal tangle ever since.
"We look at it from a CSR perspective," Mr Glancey told the Irish Independent. "We backed it from day one. The same in Ireland - we've got businesses in the community and it's not in anybody's interest for consumers to abuse alcohol."
He said minimum pricing plans are targeted at "high drinking consumers".
"If you move prices up, the numbers of lives that could be saved is quite remarkable," said Mr Glancey. "It takes out cheap alcohol from the market. We can't see anything wrong with that."
The Irish government's Public Health Alcohol Bill - which it hopes to have passed by the end of the year - would see new rules to restrict the display of alcohol in shops, and introduce minimum pricing to prevent the below-cost sale of alcohol.
Mr Glancey was speaking as C&C, which also owns brands including Tennent's Lager, released interim results yesterday that showed it continues to face competitive challenges in the Irish cider market.
While volume sales of Bulmers fell 5pc in Ireland during the first half of C&C's financial year, Mr Glancey said that the figure was compared to a strong performance in the first half of the previous financial year, which he said had benefited from a better summer.
Heineken-owned Orchard Thieves has been muscling in on the market here, but Mr Glancey said that Bulmers continues to hold a 46pc share of the off-trade cider market, and 73pc of the on-trade draught cider market.
C&C's reported net revenue fell 6.8pc to €273.1m during the first half. On a reported basis, it was 11pc lower. On an underlying basis, C&C said revenue was down 3.7pc, taking account of currency fluctuations and other adjustments.
Its operating profit fell 4.6pc to €50.5m. On an underlying basis, again accounting for foreign exchange movements and other adjustments, the figure was 0.4pc higher. C&C is on track to complete its investment in the UK-based Admiral Taverns pub chain by the end of November.