Volume sales of Bulmers fell 6pc in Ireland last year, more than the 3pc decline experienced across the cider market, as it was hit by tough competition in the drinks segment, according to owner C&C.
But the group remains broadly positive regarding its entire business, which also includes brands such as Tennent's lager. It expects to have generated earnings before interest and tax of about €86m for its 2018 financial year, which ended on February 28.
C&C also owns a 47pc stake in UK pub chain owner Admiral Taverns.
The company said that while its Bulmers cider sales increased volumes and market share in the off-trade, it was hit as it lost draught distribution points in pubs and bars.
Its revenue and profitability in Ireland was also hit by reduced volumes in its wholesale business, and as some customers reverted to being supplied their drinks directly by AB InBev. But C&C said Tennent's and its super-premium brands performed well.
Magners returned to volume growth, but it said the outlook for consumer spending in the UK remains challenging but that the pubs it serves remain resilient.