Irish drinks producer C&C Group has reported a 27% rise in revenues for the year to the end of February 2007 to EUR981.4m (US$1.33bn), ahead of analysts' forecasts of around EUR959m.

Adjusted earnings per share rose by 84% to 54.9 cents, also ahead of analysts' forecasts in a Reuters poll for around 53.5 cents.

Operating profits were up by 77% at EUR212.6m, while operating margin rose by some 6.1 percentage points to 21.7%.

The company said that during 2006 it had achieved national distribution for its Magners cider brand in the UK, while also transforming its cider manufacturing capability with a major capital investment programme.

C&C said it had also increased Bulmers' market share in Ireland, and reported a 16% increase in depletions of its Irish whiskey brand Tullamore Dew.

"C&C is pleased to report continuing earnings growth and progress against all financial measures," said CEO Maurice Pratt. "We will continue to invest in the sustainable growth opportunities presented by Magners, Bulmers, and Tullamore Dew."

The company reaffirmed its current guidance for the year to Feburary 2008 of operating profit growth in the range of 15% to 25%.