UK: C&C Group aims to triple international business by 2016

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C&C Group is aiming to triple the size of its international business over the next four years, with the division expected to account for a fifth of group earnings.

Currently, international EBIT accounts for 7% of the company’s profits, C&C revealed at an investors day in Shepton Mallet on Thursday (29 November). The group is in the process of acquiring Vermont Hard Cider Company and Irish drinks firm Gleeson, but the growth predictions exclude these yet-to-complete deals.

C&C told investors that it expects its international business to make up 15% of its business by full-year 2014 and 20% by full-year 2016. Its products are currently available in 43 countries.

Mark Boulos, C&C’s FD, said: “The US is incredibly important to us and we are looking to achieve market leadership nationwide.”

He added that, as cider is gluten-free it “resonates quite well” in the US and is an extension of craft beer for “someone who is looking to try something new”.

Bret Williams, Vermont Hard Cider company’s president, said the category is “on the brink of an explosion” in the US.

Meanwhile, in the UK cider market, the company flagged that competition has increased as 43 cider brands are now listed in the average supermarket, compared to 19 in 2005.

But, analysts at Nomura noted that C&C is “exploring ways to further reduce the UK cider cost base and reinvest behind the brands”. This includes a new advertising campaign, driving Magners Golden Draft distribution and exploiting the speciality brands such as Addlestones. Nomura’s Ed Mundy said: “Magners is still the modern cider of choice.”

On Tennent’s, Nomura suggested the lager brand’s growth story is “not over” in the UK, as the company focusses on recruiting new consumers (18-24 year olds) and brand building.

Nomura also sounded a positive note on the Gleeson deal, noting it “should drive greater efficiencies in the company’s route to market in Ireland” and “strengthen the company’s competitive positioning in the market”.