UK: C&C sales slip in Q3, Christmas not merry either

By | 16 January 2008

C&C has posted yet another slide in sales, this time for its third quarter.

The troubled cider and spirits company said today (16 January) that revenue in the quarter to the end of November has fallen by 15% against the corresponding period a year earlier. The performance reflects a fall of 18% for its cider division, overshadowing a 1% lift in spirits and liqueurs in the quarter.

"The year-on-year decline in the cider division's revenue for the third quarter is in line with the performance in the quarter to 31 August 2007 and comprises a 30% decline in Great Britain and 2% growth in the Republic of Ireland," the company said.

In the UK, C&C noted, the quarter's results reflect the impact of a loss of on-trade market share during the period to 31 August, the negative carry-over impact of poor summer weather on recruitment to the premium cider category, and a very weak overall on-trade market.

Looking at the Christmas period, trading has followed a similar pattern to the quarter to the end of November, meaning a "solid performance in Ireland" and a "weak performance in Great Britain". Sales for the fiscal year to the end of February, therefore, will be down by about 10% year-on-year, the company said.

C&C will issue a full-year trading update on 29 February, with full-year results due in May.

Separately, C&C announced that it will commence an on-market share buyback programme shortly.

In October, C&C posted a 39% drop in basic adjusted earnings per share to EUR0.175. Operating profit was also down, by 33% at EUR67m (US$99.1m).

Sectors: Beer & cider

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