Drinks company C&C Group has reported that trading for its UK cider business remains “challenging”, with volumes down 13.5% in the nine months to November 2013.

Its Magners brand was down 11%, and its other cider products – which include Gaymers, Blackthorne and Addlestones – were down 17.1% in the period. C&C said this performance was driven by declines in the off-trade, while on-trade sales volumes remained relatively steady by comparison.

However, in an interim management statement, the company said: “We maintain guidance for double‐digit operating profit growth in the current financial year. FY2014 represents a transition period for the C&C business in both our core and international markets.

“We have made excellent progress developing our multi-beverage capability in the Republic of Ireland and Tennent’s UK. Solid earnings growth and cash generation in both of these businesses provides a degree of balance to a more competitive UK cider market.”

Tennent’s Lager volumes grew by 8% in the period in the Scottish independent free trade, C&C reported.