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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 10th Mar 2016 - Results: C&C Group, Eagle Eye
C&C Group – trade in Scotland has picked up: Drinks company C&C Group has reported that 2016 financial year operating profit is expected to be in the region of €103 million. The company stated: “Trading in the last quarter of the year provides grounds for optimism and the board is confident in the earnings prospects of the group in 2017. In Scotland, general trading picked up in the last quarter as the impact of tighter drink driving legislation in December 2014 fell out of the comparatives. Share performance of the Tennent’s brand in the key Independent Free Trade channel improved in the second half of the year. The cider category in Ireland continues to lose share to other long alcohol drinks and the Bulmers brand has ceded ground to the distribution build of new arrivals. However, compelling rate of sale data for Bulmers should prove to be a key feature in performance stabilization in FY17. Meanwhile, distribution of Corona in the Republic and Heverlee and Clonmel 1650 in the north go from strength to strength. Magners Original within C&C Brands shipped 1% more volume in FY16 than in the prior year, picking up share in the cider category. Retail data for Magners Original in the fourth quarter was strong in both channels of trade. Magners draught is also back in growth in the second half of the year. Increased brand investment plans for FY17 will build on this performance. Export of own brands should deliver 20% volume growth in FY16. The group recently put in place new distributor partnerships for the Magners brand with San Miguel in Thailand and Coca Cola Amatil in New Zealand. In South Africa, early indications from the launch of Tennent’s in November are encouraging and plans are in place to increase distribution across a number of African countries. The group is well positioned to sustain export momentum and deliver another year of solid growth in FY17. In the US, the new sales and marketing arrangements with Pabst Brewing Company commenced on 1 March and both parties are excited by the plans and the prospects. We are delighted to announce today that the relationship will be further extended through the appointment of C&C as exclusive distributor for the Pabst Brewing Company portfolio in the UK and Ireland. The cost reduction plans announced in October 2015 are well advanced and the targeted €15 million of savings will start to flow through in FY17. FY16 should reflect another year of strong cash generation. Previous guidance on conversion of Free Cash Flow (FCF)/Ebitda of 70% should be achieved and will be further augmented by a new accounts receivable facility that improves working capital by circa €25m. The facility has the scope for further expansion in FY17. There has been a significant amount of activity around capital returns in FY16. Of the €100 million share buy back programme announced in October 2015, 75% is complete with 20.5m shares acquired at an average price of €3.63 per share. This represents 6% of the group’s ordinary shares. The shares purchased have been cancelled. Total capital returned during FY16 by way of dividend and share buy back was €115 million. The level of cash generated in FY16 should allow the €115m return of capital to be absorbed with minimal change to the net debt position, leaving the group’s balance sheet strength and flexibility intact.”

Eagle Eye reports sales up 30% in First Half: Digital loyalty company Eagle Eye has reported sales up by 30% to £3.0m (H1 2015: £2.3m) in the six months ended 31 December 2015. Subscription and transactional revenues represent 84% of total revenues (H1 2015: 81%)Tim Mason, chairman of Eagle Eye, said: “We have made excellent strategic progress with Tier 1 grocers, increasing our UK market coverage to over 30% with the addition of a second grocer in July 2015. Following the Period end we announced the signing of our first major international contract earlier than our expectations. The scalability of our technology has been demonstrated with the completion of a nationwide roll out with Asda that now opens up the FMCG brand opportunity – where 56 FMCG brands have been added to the platform so far. This excellent momentum demonstrates the major benefits that Eagle Eye’s technology is delivering to retailers by reducing their operating costs and eliminating mal-redemption. The market opportunity created by the advancement in mobile technology supports our core competency of digital promotions and rewards. Given this performance, the doubling of AIR revenues, and our better than expected cash position, the board is excited both in the group’s full year outcome and its long-term growth prospects.”

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