C&C Group has blamed the “Siberian” Easter weather and sliding economic confidence for a continued decline in sales of its Magners cider, which boomed during the hot summer of 2006. Pre-tax profits fell 41.4% to Eu103.9m (£82.4m) last year after the Irish company expanded production but suffered an 11% drop in cider sales. The company expects a return to revenue growth from June, but chief executive Maurice Pratt warned shareholders to be patient. He said the market was “tougher than anyone in the industry had forecast”. C&C intends to cut costs by Eu10m a year. But it plans to expand into Spain and Germany, and is still testing the market in Barcelona and Munich with mixed results. Analysts greeted the results with cautious optimism. But the weather and heightened competition will have a bearing on future cider sales. The Daily Telegraph 10/05/08 page 35 (BusinessNews) Financial Times 10/05/08 page 17 The Times 10/05/08 page 68 (Business)