Business Irish

Monday 11 December 2017

Outgoing C&C chief Dunsmore in line for multi-million euro payout

Peter Flanagan

C&C chief executive John Dunsmore will be in line for a multi-million euro payout after he unexpectedly announced his resignation yesterday.

Mr Dunsmore, who took over three years ago, could cash in to the tune of some €8m by the end of C&C's fiscal year when he formally steps down from the board in February.

The final tranche of a share scheme created when he took over as CEO three years ago will vest at the end of this year, leaving him eligible to cash in his shares, which are worth some €8m at the current share price.

He can only take advantage of this if the shares stay above €2.50 for 20 out of 40 days. At a current price of €2.72, that hurdle should be easily cleared.

Last night, however, Mr Dunsmore said he would retain his shareholding and continue to pay "close attention" to C&C.

Mr Dunsmore surprised the market yesterday when he announced he would step down at the end of the year and would leave the board at the end of the firm's financial year in February.

He will be replaced by chief operating officer and finance director Stephen Glancey.

His resignation prompted the company to deny reports of a boardroom bust-up over the direction of the company.

Ever since Mr Dunsmore and his management team arrived from Scottish & Newcastle in 2008 and focused the company on the cider and beer market, there has been ongoing speculation that the firm could be sold, with AB InBev and Molson Coors repeatedly connected to the company.

Mr Dunsmore, however, has repeatedly denied he planned to sell the firm.

Despite the change at the top, incoming CEO Mr Glancey said there would be no change of strategy for the firm.

"There's barely a cigarette paper between us after 12 years so there won't be any significant changes," he said.

Mr Dunsmore's resignation was announced as C&C reported half-year results that were described as "robust" given the state of the economy and ongoing declines in Ireland.

Operating profit rose 7.8pc to €67.4m despite revenue falling 9.3pc year on year to €399.3m.

The company blamed the slip in revenue on the poor weather over the summer and the unfavourable comparison with the soccer World Cup during the same period last year, traditionally an event that would drive sales.

Mr Glancey said the Irish market contracted by 2pc during the period and he expects it to stay down for the next "four to five years".

While the results were broadly in line with expectations, the loss of Mr Dunsmore was seen as a blow to the company.

Phil Carroll at Shore Capital described the loss of Mr Dunsmore as a "technical negative", but added that C&C was now in "robust shape from an efficiency perspective and has a strong balance sheet, quite a contrast to what he inherited".

C&C closed down 4.28pc at €2.72.

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