C&C’s cider revolution may be one of the first Irish victims of England’s bad weather. After driving two years of unmitigated growth in the cider market, the weather, renewed competition (primarily from English Bulmers, and own brand’s copies), plus major capital investment, sales are down drastically:
Chief executive Maurice Pratt told The Irish Times that the predicted 35 per cent fall in profit was not just down to a drop in the volume of cider it has sold over the last six months, but also reflected spending on increased manufacturing capacity and on marketing. “We have capital expenditure this year of €170 million,” he said.
Mr Pratt acknowledged yesterday that this week’s warm weather has arrived too late for the company.
The rapid expansion of Magner’s cider in Britain has been the main growth accelerator at the group over the last two years.
He explained that the May to July summer period is key in building sustained sales as it is during this time frame that it recruits most of its new customers.
However, he could not say if the impact of losing this key period would last into next year. “We have not given any guidance on that.
“Our expected growth did not materialise and we need to see just how the first half concludes before we can give any future guidance. That’s where we are right now.”