C&C open to more contract deals to take up slack at Clonmel plant

CEO Stephen Glancey signals inquiries from UK firms seeking to retain operations in EU

The Bulmers/Magners cidermaker C&C, which on Wednesday reported a decline in full-year sales and profits, claims it has received approaches from several major drinks manufacturers asking if C&C will enter contracts to manufacture products for them at its plant in Clonmel.

Speaking to The Irish Times after the publication of its results, Stephen Glancey, chief executive of C&C, made the comments in the context of a discussion about Brexit. He declined to say with which companies it has held discussions, but he suggested approaches came from British drinks companies looking to keep operations in the European Union.

“We have a foot in both camps [Ireland and the UK],” said Mr Glancey. In addition to its Tipperary cider-making plant, C&C also has a lager manufacturing facility in Scotland.

Mr Glancey also confirmed that C&C is no longer on the lookout for acquisitions, after recently acquiring Matthew Clark, a distributor to the UK pub trade. The company says it is now concentrating on "de-levering" the group, which suggests it is not prepared to extend itself further by deploying capital on new ventures.


Severe weather

Revenue and profit at drinks firm C&C fell in the year to the end of February, it reported on Wednesday, as severe weather hit results in the second half. Net revenue fell 5 per cent lower to €548.2 million, with operating profit down 7 per cent to €86.1 million.

In Ireland, Bulmers is under pressure from competitors including Heineken, which recently launched Appleman's cider to go with Orchard Thieves. Bulmers volumes were down 6 per cent, and Irish profits fell more than 17 per cent. Profits in C&C's other main market, Scotland, were up 5 per cent on the back of a solid performance by Tennents.

Its international volumes rose 2 per cent, as distribution increased. The US saw volumes decline, although there were signs of stabilisation in the sector, C&C said. Following the period under review, C&C took over responsibility for its US brands, some of which had been managed through Pabst.

In March, C&C bought Matthew Clark out of the administration of Conviviality. The C&C chief said trading in March and April was in line with expectations, and the company was confident in its outlook.

C&C shares closed 0.8 per cent weaker at €3.065.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist