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IRELAND/UK: Analysts unconvinced at SABMiller link to C&C

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Analysts have poured cold water on the prospect of brewing giant SABMiller making a move for Magners cider owner C&C Group.

Speculation linking SABMiller with C&C has resurfaced in recent days after a rally in the Irish drinks group's share price.

However, analysts remain unconvinced that the brewing giant would bid for C&C, which has enjoyed buoyant earnings growth thanks to the growing popularity of its cider brands on both sides of the Irish Sea.

"I would never rule out anything but there are certainly many other things that are of more interest to SABMiller at the moment," Dennis Weber of UK bank Dresdner Kleinwort told just-drinks today (21 March).

"(SABMiller) has the integration of its Bavaria business and pursuing continued growth in South Africa - among other things - to deal with. It also doesn't have the expertise in cider production."

Weber believed a move for C&C from cider rival Scottish & Newcastle is also unlikely. He said an offer from S&N would be an "admission" from the UK brewer that it had not achieved enough growth with its cider brands, which include Strongbow.

A spokesman for C&C in London declined to comment, while SABMiller officials could not be reached for comment as just-drinks went to press.


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