C&C cider sales fall as volumes weaken

DRINKS group C&amp;C, the maker of Magners cider, yesterday posted a fall in first-half sales and operating profit and said volumes had dipped at the end of the period.<br /><br />C&amp;C said cider volumes were flat for the six months to the end of August but had slowed in the last month of the half-year and had continued to slide into September, due to what the company said was a challenging outlook.<br /><br />The group said that its spirits and liquor volumes were down 15 per cent while revenue for the period was &euro;257.5m (&pound;236.1), down 10.5 per cent or 6.3 per cent on a constant currency basis.<br /><br />C&amp;C, which bought the Scottish and Irish businesses of Anheuser-Busch InBev last month, said full-year operating profit, without taking account of that deal, would be at the top end of a &euro;77m to &euro;82m range.<br /><br />Following the &pound;180m AB InBev deal, in which C&amp;C got the rights to Tennent&rsquo;s, Scotland&rsquo;s top lager, the firm said it was reviewing its overall marketing spend.<br /><br />The group said that it believed it was not getting a fair share of the UKcider market and would be working hard to address that.<br /><br />Chief executive John Dunsmore, who was parachuted into the group from rival Scottish &amp; Newcastle last year, said: &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve got a lot on our plates at the moment, and only a week into the Tennent&rsquo;s acquisition, so we&rsquo;ll be focusing on that &ndash; but in the medium term we want to expand internationally and acquisitions might be the way to go.&rdquo;