The Irish beverage and snacks group C&C said today that its full year turnover and operating profit, on a reported basis, had declined by 3.2% and 10.3% respectively.

The declines reflect the disposal of C&C's Italian subsidiary Barbero 1891 SpA in December 2003 and the impact of currency depreciation, principally the US dollar, on the results of its International Spirits & Liqueurs division.

On a continuing basis turnover grew 4.2% to €750.4m, leading to operating profit growth of 3.5% to €115.1m.
Maurice Pratt, C&C Group CEO said: "C&C is pleased to report progress in line with expectations. Our first annual results as a public, listed company represent a significant milestone in our history. We are equally pleased to report top and bottom line growth in a trading environment characterised by a number of adverse factors. This, we believe, represents a worthy performance and demonstrates the resilience of our business."

The company said that the "favourable prevailing economic conditions in Ireland" are expected to continue.

A statement continued: "The anticipated acceleration in consumer spending growth should provide C&C with a positive operating backdrop for its fiscal 2005/06 full year. The Irish on-trade market is likely to see a continuation of the 2004 rate of decline until the smoking ban impact on prior year comparatives is eliminated in mid 2005 - thereafter, a significantly slower pace of decline is expected."

The company added that fiscal year 2005/06 has started satisfactorily with Cider brands showing good performance in all markets. The London roll out of Magners, which commenced in March 2005, is also proceeding to plan.

However, C&C warned that the recent announcement of a recommended offer by Pernod Ricard S.A. for Allied Domecq plc may, if successfully completed, have an impact on C&C.

Allied Domecq distributes approximately 75% of C&C's International Spirits & Liqueurs volume.

But the statement said: "We are confident that we can secure alternative distributors if necessary. However a change could have a short-term disruptive impact."