C&C Stock Drops Slowing Sales Weigh on Cider-Maker Profit

C&C Group Plc, the Irish producer of ciders including Magners and Woodchuck, fell the most in 11 weeks in Dublin trading after predicting profit below analysts’ estimates following a slowdown in sales.

C&C dropped as much as 12 percent, the steepest intraday decline since Oct. 29, and was down 10 percent at 3.38 euros as of 11:38 a.m. Operating profit in the year through February will probably total 115 million euros ($135 million) following “weaker than expected trading conditions” in the third quarter, C&C said. The stock was the worst performer among the 47 companies in the Dublin market’s ISEQ Overall Index.

A “quiet” end to 2014 in Ireland and Scotland compounded a year of woes for Chief Executive Officer Stephen Glancey in which U.S. sales slumped and analysts questioned the logic of a failed approach for Spirit Pub Co. Dublin-based C&C, which also brews Tennent’s lager, faces more competition in England and Wales while trying to shrug off distribution problems in Australia.

“This is a disappointing update from C&C and reflects challenges that the company is facing across several of its largest geographies,” David Holohan, an analyst at Merrion Capital, wrote in a report to clients. “Management will likely now be tasked with stabilizing the existing businesses rather than focusing efforts on acquiring additional new ones.”

Analysts were expecting 2015 operating profit of about 127 million euros after C&C predicted in July that earnings would increase, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The figure in fiscal 2014 totaled 106 million euros, with earnings excluding special items amounting to 126.7 million euros.

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