But C&C remains primed, “… ready to serve our on-trade customers as and when the hospitality sector is allowed to reopen, from a more streamlined base and with new brand partners in the post pandemic market.”
C&C also announced the sale of its wholly-owned US subsidiary Vermont Hard Cider Company to Northeast Kingdom Drink Group LLC for $20 million, with the transaction due to complete in coming weeks. The total net proceeds from these divestments will be applied to reducing net debt and the sale is expected to result in a net book profit.
The last 12 months witnessed trading characterised by a series of significant and continuously evolving national lockdowns and regional trading restrictions. As a consequence C&C has not been in a position to provide guidance on earnings or related measures. It even formally withdrew guidance on the 3rd of June last year.
According to the update, “The Group’s supply chain and production facilities remain fully operational and we continue to work with our partners to serve our off-trade customers”.
The Group has taken a series of proactive steps to mitigate, where possible, the negative financial and operational impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, including taking action to address its fixed cost base with a cost reduction programme expected to deliver annualised savings of €18 million against its pre Covid-19 cost base.
Bulmers off-trade volume share of Irish cider increased to 50.2%, representing growth of 3.3 percentage points for the 12-month period ending on the 31st of January 2021.
“The strength of our final mile distribution continues to be reflected through the exclusive distribution deals completed during FY2021” states C&C, “including: extending our partnership with Budweiser Brewing Group in Ireland to include exclusive distribution of Budweiser.”
Recently, in return for supplying “Scotland’s #1 craft beer” Innis & Gunn with access to the independent free trade in its core markets C&C received an 8% equity stake “at only the cost of nominal share capital”.
C&C will announce Preliminary Results for FY21 on the 26th of May.