Dublin-based C&C Group has reported an improved performance in the first half of its financial year following the gradual easing of restrictions and phased reopening of the hospitality sector across Ireland and the UK.
The company said in a trading update that it expects its group net revenue to amount to €657 million in the first half, compared to €398 million in the same period last year, and €896 million in the year before the pandemic.
David Forde, chief executive officer of C&C, commented, “Despite sector challenges, our business has shown its inherent strength and cash generation capability in the first half.
“As the on-trade has progressively reopened, we returned to profitability and worked closely with our customers to meet the resurgence in consumer demand.”
In July, the Tennent's lager and Magners cider maker said that it was 'encouraged' by the level to which trade recovered in the UK and Ireland since the gradual reopening of hospitality businesses in recent weeks.
Operating profit for this period is expected to be €16 million, compared to a loss of €12 million last year and a profit of €66 million in the year before.
C&C Group’s off-trade channel continued to perform well, the company added, with Bulmers growing its share of cider on a MAT basis versus last year and the previous one.
In addition, Tennent’s broadly retained its MAT share versus a year ago and grown share versus two years ago.
The company’s net debt stood at €246 million at the end of August 2021.
In June, C&C’s key distribution businesses, Matthew Clark and Bibendum, returned to profitability and remained profitable over the summer trading period.
The group also discontinued the use of government furlough support schemes in June 2021.
The group said it is partly insulated from the ongoing shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers in the UK due to its in-house distribution network but is vigilant on the evolving situation.
It is working closely with its partners to meet the resurgence in demand and is taking appropriate measures to create capacity and meet demands.
Forde stated, “We continue to invest in our brands, most notably with the recent launch of multi-channel advertising campaigns for our iconic Tennent’s, Bulmers and Magners brands.
“Our focus remains on building a better business by further developing our brand and system strength, while continuing to navigate the near-term capacity constraints our industry faces.”
C&C will announce its first-half results on 28 October 2021.