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C&C Group resumes dividend payouts following massive profit growth

Resignation: David Forde has resigned as chief executive of C&C Group, the maker of Magner's cider, after just two and a half years in the role

C&C Group resumes paying dividends as price hikes boost Magner cider owner’s annual profits by around 75%

  • The C&C group is best known for producing Magners cider and Tennent lager
  • The Dublin-based company last distributed a full-year dividend three years ago
  • Its operating profits jumped about three-quarters to 84.1 million euros last year

The C&C Group has brought back the payment of dividends after its profits soared last year thanks to price increases and the absence of Covid-related restrictions.

Underlying profits at the Dublin-based drinks company, best known for making Magners cider and Tennent lager, jumped around three-quarters to 84.1 million euros for the 12 months. ending in February.

Its operating margin reached 5%, although business in the second half of the year was affected by successive railway strikes in the United Kingdom, as well as lower consumer demand amid inflation. high.

Resignation: David Forde has resigned as chief executive of C&C Group, the maker of Magner's cider, after just two and a half years in the role

Resignation: David Forde has resigned as chief executive of C&C Group, the maker of Magner’s cider, after just two and a half years in the role

Net sales increased 18.4% to €1.7 billion, with price increases accounting for 14.2% of the growth and the remainder due to increased sales volume.

In Britain, the group’s premium beer brands achieved a 43.2 per cent jump in restaurant volumes, supported by demand from Menabrea and Heverlee.

Following the result, the company decided to pay shareholders a dividend of 3.79 cents per share, having last paid a full-year dividend three years ago at the start of the pandemic.

Newly appointed Chief Executive Patrick McMahon said: “Amid a challenging fiscal 2023 environment, C&C delivered improved performance against all financial metrics.

“Increased balance sheet strength and inherently strong free cash flow characteristics have enabled C&C to return capital to shareholders through the reinstatement of dividends.”

McMahon’s predecessor, David Forde, resigned last week at the same time C&C admitted a failed software update had occurred at his Matthew Clark and Bibendum businesses.

He said the implementation process took longer and “was much more difficult and disruptive” than expected, resulting in a “significant material impact” on revenue and service levels.

Although the company noted that normal service volumes had “largely returned” by the end of March, it observed that the problems worsened in April amid exceptional seasonal trading.

Consequently, the Dublin-based company warned that the disruption would create around €25 million in one-time costs this financial year.

Forde had joined C&C at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in November 2020, when the alcoholic beverage industry was suffering from onerous restrictions on hospitality venues.

The trade recovered significantly over the next two years, with C&C returning to profit in 2022 after its market sales more than tripled,

Prior to C&C, Forde spent more than three decades at Heineken, including seven years as managing director of its UK division.

While at the Dutch brewing giant, the Galway-born executive led its £7.8bn joint takeover with Carlsberg of Scottish & Newcastle, then owners of Fosters and Newcastle Brown Ale.

C&C Group shares were down 1.5% at 135.2p late Wednesday afternoon, meaning they are down around 23% year-to-date.

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