Business Irish

Tuesday 21 November 2017

C&C plunges to €67.8m loss after one-off costs as it eyes UK deals

Stephen Glancey, chief executive of C&C
Stephen Glancey, chief executive of C&C

Paul O'Donoghue

Irish drinks company C&C, the maker of several popular brands such as Bulmers, plunged to a €67.8m full year loss after incurring a massive €150m write down.

The pre-tax loss for the 12 months to the end of February was a huge swing compared to the previous year when the Dublin-based company recorded a €95.5m pre-tax profit.

The difference was almost exclusively due to a €150m impairment charge relating to the firm's US operations, which made up the bulk of the €173.9m exceptional losses.

The write-down occurred as the firm's US operations saw its operating profits fall from €11m to €1.5m.

The exceptional items also included C&C's restructuring of its England and Wales operations and a revaluation of the property owned by the firm. Exceptional items aside the company made a pre-tax profit of €115m during the financial year, which was in line with the guidance given in January when C&C warned on profits following disappointing Christmas trading. Net revenue increased by just over 10pc to €683.9m.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, C&C's chief executive, Stephen Glancey, admitted that "it wasn't a great year" for the company. However, he said: "We hit the guidelines that we gave in January [and] we are taking the long term view.

"In the coming year we have signalled to the market that we are going to be looking at investing long term."

He added that the firm is now looking at making acquisitions in the UK having recently updated its €450m loan facility. C&C recently restructured its operations in England and Wales amid the tough market environment, combining its three separate businesses in the two countries into a single division.

The move came after C&C tried to complete a deal to buy UK pubs groups Greene King and Spirit last year to improve its access to English drinkers only to be rebuffed.

Despite the difficulties it has faced in the market Mr Glancey says that the company is still committed to Wales and England, saying: "The UK is the biggest cider market in the world in terms of per head of population, we are not giving up on it."

Although he declined to give details of specific acquisitions, he said that the firm "would hope to make some capital deployments in the coming weeks and months."

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