• Full-year net jumps up four-fold to EUR300.4m (US$428m)
  • Operating profits rise by 24% to EUR88.5m
  • Net sales increase by 61% to EUR789.7m
  • Magners improves market share, but Irish cider business remains under pressure

C&C Group has reported an increase in profits from continuing operations for its most recent fiscal year, boosted by improving fortunes for Magners cider in the UK.

C&C Group's net profits rose four-fold to EUR300.4m (US$428m), thanks to a EUR224.7m one-off gain related to the group's deal to sell its spirits and liqueurs business to William Grant & Sons. Excluding that gain, C&C's profits from continuing operations still increased strongly for the 12 months to the end fo February, up by 23% to EUR70.9m

Magners cider recouped some market share in the UK during the year, with double-digit volume growth in the off-trade enough to offset a sales decline in the on-trade, said the firm today (18 May).

The acquisition of Gaymer Cider Co and Tennent's also boosted company net sales, which rose by 60% on the previous year, to EUR789.9m.

Operating profits increased by 24% to EUR88.5m, despite ongoing difficulties at C&C's cider business in Ireland. That business, which contributes to 44% of total group operating profits, reported net sales down by 7% to EUR100m. The division's operating profits slipped by 1% to EUR43.7m, as cost cutting failed to offset lower sales revenue amid tough economic conditions in Ireland.

C&C said that it is "effectively debt free" after reducing net debt during the year to EUR6m, from EUR359m.

It forecast that company earnings before interest and tax would rise by between 8% and 15% in the current fiscal year, from EUR100.5m last year.

“C&C is pleased to report a strong financial and operating performance for the period in review delivering earnings growth in line with our stated guidance," said C&C Group's CEO, John Dunsmore.

For the company announcement, click here.