C&C Group (LSE: CCR), theDublin-based company behind cider brandssuch asMagners, Bulmersand Ye Olde English, released its result for the first half of FY 2015, to 31 August 2014, this morning.
C&Cs share price had fallen by over 12% at one point in early trading, but has since recovered somewhat and currently stands 7.6% down on the day so far.
Despite net revenue increasing 9.3% to368.1m, operating profit fell 2.7%, to 69.2m, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortistion (EBITDA) dipped 2.2%, to 81m,and and free cash flow tumbled 48.4% to30.8m.
C&C says thatearnings growth in itscore Ireland and Scotland businesses was offset by challenges in both the US, where performance was described as disappointing,and England & Wales, where the companysays thatheightened competition reduced the contribution from itscider portfolio.
Basic earnings per share (EPS) were up 22.4%, to15.3 cents, and the board is recommending an interim dividend of 4.5 cents per share an increase of 4.7% year-on-year, which the company says reflects its strong balance sheet, underlying cash generation capability and commitment to deliver value for shareholders.
C&C says that its first-half performance is solid when considered againstprior year comparisons in Ireland, the fact its still in the early stages of itsUS marketing investment programme, and a trading environment in England & Wales that it describes intensively competitive.
Last week C&C confirmed that it had made a preliminary approach to the Spirit Pub Company, which operates pub & restaurant brands such asChef & Brewer, Fayre & Square and Flaming Grill. Spirit rejected the approach, and C&C now has until5pm on 20 November to announce whether or not it has a definite intention to make a formal bid.
Under the takeover code, because its interest in Spirit remains to be settled either way, C&C is preventedfrom issuing new operating profit guidance.
Commenting on the results, group CEO Stephen Glancey said
The strength of our core business in Ireland & Scotland underpinned profit delivery of 69.2m in the period. Given the lower than expected contribution from the US and England & Wales businesses, this is a solid outcome.
C&Cs share price has now fallen over 14%since it confirmed its interest inthe Spirit Pub Company just five days ago.
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