Coronavirus: Tennent’s owner C&C 'closely monitoring' Covid-19 but sticks with guidance

Tennent’s owner C&C Group said it was “monitoring closely” the potential impact of coronavirus on its business as it reaffirmed its growth guidance to investors.

By Scott Reid
Thursday, 12th March 2020, 8:06 am
Updated Thursday, 12th March 2020, 8:06 am
Tennent's lager, which is owned by Irish drinks firm C&C Group, remains the best-selling lager in Scotland.
Tennent's lager, which is owned by Irish drinks firm C&C Group, remains the best-selling lager in Scotland.

The Irish firm, whose portfolio also includes Bulmers and Magners ciders, said underlying earnings before interest and tax for the 12 months to 29 February were expected to be “marginally ahead” of market estimates.

Adjusted earnings per share growth (EPS) of above 10 per cent is in line with the group’s stated guidance for the 2020 financial year and follows double-digit EPS growth the year before.

In a trading update, the drinks firm noted that “consistent with recent performance, free cash flow generation and conversion continues to be strong”.

C&C reaffirmed its medium-term guidance of mid to high single-digit EPS growth but cautioned that the guidance assumes “no material or prolonged impact from Covid-19, which we are monitoring closely”.

The group added: “Delivery of our brand-led distribution model progressed to plan in [financial year 2020], with Matthew Clark and Bibendum reporting blended operating margins within the stated range of guidance for this time following acquisition.

“These businesses continue to perform well against key financial metrics and performance targets, with identified synergy benefits being realised.”

It also noted that the process to appoint a new chief executive was progressing, with global executive search firm Spencer Stuart formally engaged.

C&C said it remained on course to be a 100 per cent carbon-neutral business by 2025.

Last month, Tennent’s said it had rolled out what it billed as Scotland’s lowest calorie light lager.

Tennent’s Light is being pitched at lager drinkers looking for a lower-calorie, lower-strength option. Launching as an on-trade exclusive, the new brew has 114 calories per pint and a 3.5 per cent ABV.

Available on draught and in 330ml bottles, it marks the first major Tennent’s draught launch in almost a decade, with the last launch from Glasgow’s Wellpark Brewery being Caledonia Best, in 2011.

Tennent’s Light has the additional benefit of being vegan and gluten free, the firm added. The move comes amid strong demand for lower strength and vegan certified and gluten-free beers.

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