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C&C to repay £138m to Conviviality’s lenders and HMRC

C&C Group has stated that it has agreed a repayment schedule with both HMRC and three banks which lent money to former UK drinks wholesaler Conviviality, with the money owed totalling c. £138 million.

Publishing its preliminary full year results yesterday (16 May), Irish drinks giant C&C Group laid out its plans to repay the creditors of the now defunct Conviviality. C&C, together with global brewer AB InBev, completed its acquisition of Matthew Clark, Bibendum and its other subsidiaries on 4 April this year. 

The drinks group announced that it had agreed a repayment schedule with HMRC as well as resumed “normal credit terms with c.75% of suppliers” and is “in discussion on repayment schedules” with them.

In addition, it stated that it had completed a “52 week cashflow forecasting exercise” presumably in an effort to avoid the problems which led to the downfall of Conviviality.

It will be repaying around £36 million in unpaid excise duty and VAT, which includes the £30m tax bill that Conviviality announced on 14 March, as well as £102 million to three banks which lent money to Conviviality, which are reported to be Barclays, HSBC and RBS, over the next 12 months.

It stated that investment was “funded from existing C&C facilities” with “modest financial support” from AB InBev.

In its results in the 12 months ending 28 February 2018, C&C reported a drop in both net revenue and operating profit, down 4.9% to €548.2 million and down 7% to €86.1 million respectively. Blaming weather disruption across the sector, competitive pressure in Ireland, currency negatively impacting reported revenue by €2.4 million and one-off costs associated with new distribution arrangements with AB Inbev, it said that results were still “in line with analyst expectations”.

The owner of brands including Tennent’s lager and Magners cider, C&C is headquartered in Dublin and boasts a portfolio of beers, ciders, wines and soft drinks, as well as a wholesale distribution business. In September last year, it announced plans, together with US investor Proprium Capital Partners, to acquire 845 pubs under the Admiral Taverns umbrella, completing the deal in December.

Ben Glancey, C&C Group CEO, commented: “FY2018 was a significant year of progress for the group, both in terms of strategic development as well as improved underlying performance. While the trading environment in our key markets of the UK and Ireland remained challenging, our branded portfolio returned to volume and revenue growth, outperforming the broader LAD market.

“Our Scottish businesses excelled this year, with Tennent’s driving share growth and revenues of +5%, benefiting from continued investment in social media, sponsorship and new fount roll-out programme. Our Tennent’s wholesale distribution business in Scotland also performed strongly.

“The expansion of our distribution agreement with AB InBev for our cider portfolio in the UK gained momentum, through its first year. Our investment in Admiral Taverns further enhances our route-to-market across the UK. We completed the investment in December 2017 and trading to date is in line with our expectations.

“Matthew Clark Bibendum is the largest independent distributor to the UK on-trade. With unparalleled on-trade market access, a wide range of supplier relationships, and supported by a skilled and loyal employee base, this is a business we know well. A strategically important acquisition for C&C, this greatly enhances our route-to-market in the UK on-trade. Significant progress has already been made in stabilising the business. We look forward to working with our new colleagues in restoring the Group’s position as one of the leading and most respected drinks suppliers in the UK hospitality sector”.

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