C&C Group has recorded adjusted EBITDA of €100m for the 12 months ended 28 February 2018, down 6.3% on the previous year.
Operating profit was €86m, down 7%, which C&C attributed to competitive pressure in Ireland, one-off costs of the AB InBev cider distribution agreement and currency pressures.
The Irish drinks group said results were in line with expectations, despite weather disruption across the sector, with a strong performance from Tennent’s, Magners, and premium and wholesale businesses in Great Britain (GB).
C&C said it had significantly strengthened its route-to-market access across the UK through its €42m investment in Admiral Taverns in December 2017, and the Matthew Clark Bibendum acquisition in April 2018, where it has made “significant progress in stabilising the business” after the collapse of Conviviality.
It also strengthened its craft portfolio with the acquisition of Orchard Pig cider in the UK and a further investment in the Five Lamps brewery in Dublin.
Magners sales were up 9% in the second half of the year driven by new listings in impulse, wholesale and draught channels.
Bulmers brand volumes were down 6%, reflecting reduced draught distribution.
Premium and speciality categories outperformed standard, and the off-trade, which was broadly flat, outperformed the on-trade, which was negative, driven by adverse weather and declining growth in city centre and food-led pubs.
Total branded volumes in Great Britain were up 1.9%, including the part-period contribution from Orchard Pig, a strong performance from super-premium and craft portfolio and stable volumes at core UK brands of Magners and Tennent’s.
The volume and revenue performance in Great Britain was also impacted by the withdrawal from own-label contracts following the sale of Shepton in 2016 and a weaker performance by AB InBev beer brands.
In the US, volumes were in double-digit decline.
Comparable EBITDA was up 0.8% in the three months to February 2018.
Stephen Glancey, chief executive, said: “FY2018 was a significant year of progress for the Group, both in terms of strategic development as well as improved underlying performance. While the trading environment in our key markets of the UK and Ireland remained challenging, our branded portfolio returned to volume and revenue growth, outperforming the broader LAD market.
“In terms of outlook, trading in March and April for C&C Group has been in line with expectations, and we are confident in our outlook”.