C&C the group that owns Magners cider, had to admit this week that revenue figures that were publicly released less than a week ago were …er-hem…worse than it had originally revealed.
Shares in the Irish drinks group fell 15 per cent to €1.96 after it said total revenue in the four months to end-June had not risen 3 per cent as reported, but had dropped 5 per cent.
The change is particularly embarrassing for C&C because it reflects badly on the new executive team that came in last year to try to turn round performance after a loss of share in the UK cider market.
C&C said cider revenues in the UK had fallen 12 per cent, not 1 per cent, while cider revenues in Ireland were flat instead of up 7 per cent as reported last week.
“Clearly mistakes such as this do little to inspire confidence in existing and would-be investors,” said Andrew Ford, beverage analyst at Cazenove.
Stephen Glancey, C&C’s group finance director and chief operating officer, was previously S&N’s group operations director responsible for manufacturing, distribution and procurement. He said the error in last week’s announcement occurred after data were incorrectly transferred from an accounting system used for internal guidance to a spreadsheet used to produce the trading statement.
“It was basically human error . . . there’s nothing wrong with our accounting systems,” Mr Glancey said. C&C said it had not changed its profit outlook or sales volume figures, because its internal numbers had been correctly stated throughout.
Mr Glancey joined C&C as chief operating officer in November, alongside former Scottish & Newcastle CEO, John Dunsmore. He took on the finance remit this year following the retirement of Brendan Dwan, C&C’s then finance director. Despite Monday’s embarrassment, C&C said it had no current plans to split Mr Glancey’s role.
The group’s previous chief executive, Maurice Pratt, left in October after acknowledging he was “accountable” for sliding profits as cider sales fell.