Magners cider brewer C&C Group confirmed it is to buy Vermont Hard Cider to boost its presence in the fast growing US market while sales of cider in the UK fell after a washout summer.
Operating profits fell 2.7% to €65.6m for the six months to the end of August from the same period a year earlier. Net revenues slipped 2% to €263.4m after poor summer weather and weak cider consumption hit sales in the UK and Ireland.
C&C, which saw sales of Magners in the US surge 16% in the six months to August, said it will pay $305m for Vermont Hard Cider which makes Woodchuck cider.
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In the increasingly competitive UK the group said stronger sales of its Tennants lager offset some of the weakness in both Magners and Bulmers over the first half of the year.
Looking ahead C&C confirmed that full year 2013 operating profit is expected to be in the range of €112m to €118m.
CEO Stephen Glancey commented: "Despite a very challenging trading and economic backdrop, the group's results for the period demonstrate the resilience of our business model."
"While our core cider brands Magners and Bulmers both saw volume declines in the period, other parts of the business performed well. The Tennent's brand continues to outperform with net revenue and operating profit growing ahead of the Scottish beer market. Our International business, including acquisitions, continues to grow at an exciting pace, with volumes increasing by over 50%."
C&C has increased its interim dividend by 9% to four cents.
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