Exports accounted for 14% of total Magners volumes for nine months to 30 November

Exports accounted for 14% of total Magners volumes for nine months to 30 November

C&C Group has created an international MD role as fresh figures show that the company's Magners cider is enjoying strong export sales.

Joris Brams will join C&C as MD of its international division from 1 February, the Ireland-based cider maker and Tennent's lager brewer said today (17 January). Brams joins from Belgium-based bakery supplier Puratos group, but he was previously group technical and development director at Scottish & Newcastle.

His appointment comes as new figures show that C&C is enjoying strong growth in cider exports. The firm is also seeking to build a stronger US business, after acquiring US cider brand Hornsby's from E&J Gallo Winery

For the first nine months of C&C's fiscal year, to the end of November, Magners exports jumped by 25% in volume, led by Australia, North America and Spain, the group said today. Magners exports rose by 18% in value, at constant currency with the same period of the previous year. 

Net sales in Australia was "distorted" by a change in the group's distribution contract with Suntory, C&C said. "The new arrangement means reduced net revenue but higher operating margins," it said.

Exports accounted for 14% of Magners volumes over the nine-month period, helping C&C to offset tougher times in the UK and Ireland. In the UK, there continued to be signs of recovery for Magners, with nine-month volumes up by 3.6%. But, net sales rose by just 0.2%, after a third-quarter increase of 7.8% offset decline in the first half of the year.

Gaymers continued to fall as C&C seeks to reposition the brand, while Ireland continued to prove difficult amid a weak economic climate. Bulmers sales in Ireland fell by 3.6% in volume and 9.5% in value for the nine months.

C&C's Tennent's lager brand has also had a tough time, with sales down by nearly 11% in volume and 5% in value. Despite this, C&C said that sales in both the UK and Ireland rose over the Christmas period, although partially thanks to weak sales over a weather-beaten Christmas 2010. 

The group said that it expects to hit its full-year profits target. The strength of C&C’s business model, despite a challenging economic backdrop, should deliver solid earnings growth in the current financial year," it said. "Operating profit is currently expected to be circa EUR110m (US$140m) for the full-year, in-line with the group’s stated guidance."