Morning business news - May 15

Wednesday 15 May 2013 12.06
Morning business news with Brian Finn
Morning business news with Brian Finn

C&C ''HAPPY'' WITH DUBLIN LISTING AS OPERATING PROFITS EDGE HIGHER - Drinks company C&C has dismissed as speculation reports that it is preparing to switch its main stock market listing from Dublin to London. The company's chief executive Stephen Glancey said it was true that volumes in Dublin were down with the departure of a number of major companies in recent years and that had an impact in terms of the attractiveness of the market. However, C&C was happy with the service it was getting in Dublin. "We're happy where we are. We're happy with the broking we get in Ireland but we review it from time to time, as you would expect," Stephen Glancey said.

The CEO said C&C was quite pleased with the company's performance in what continues to be a challenging economic environment both here and in the UK. The company reported operating profit before exceptional items up just over 2% to just under €114m for the year to the end of February. Net revenue was down marginally to around €477m. The company reported a continuing challenging market in cider sales but said its Tennent's brand is performing strongly, offsetting weakness in sales of Bulmers and Magners and other cider brands.

"Weather was poor last year and that impacts on cider. In the UK, we believe in the strength of the Magners brand and we'll continue to invest in it. Because of internationalisation, we can afford to ride out bad weather in our other markets,'' he said.

C&C made a foray in the US cider market last year with the purchase of the Vermont Cider company. "We've already started routing Magners through the Vermont business, as well as Gaymers and Blackthorn. Basically, it's about Woodchuck, a US brand and we'll overlay Magners where we can," Stephen Glancey explained.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Insurance company FBD has reported further market share gains and growth in income for the January to March period. In an interim management statement, the company said pre-tax profits are in line with expectations with higher policy volumes mostly down to its No Nonsense insurance brand and growth in business insurance. It said that large claims are ahead of the norm for the time of year but it expects that to settle out as the year progresses.

*** France is in recession again, new figures show this morning. The country's GDP fell 0.2% in the first quarter. That comes on top of a 0.2% contraction in the last quarter of 2012. France's economy was last in recession at the beginning of last year. Germany's economy, on the other hand, returned to modest growth in the first quarter of the year, avoiding recession. Germany recorded 0.1% growth in the January to March period.

*** Low-cost airline EasyJet halved its losses in the first half of the year, helped by Easter falling earlier than a year ago and strong bookings from customers wanting to escape recent bad weather. The airline reported a pretax loss of £61m sterling for the six months to the end of March, traditionally a loss-making period. That compares to a loss of £112m last year. Total revenues grew 9.3% to £1.6 billion, while revenue per seat grew 8.6%.

*** Latin American countries do not tax the rich enough, according to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank. Countries in the region offer too many tax breaks and fail to punish rampant tax evasion, the report says, meaning they are unable to raise enough revenue to properly combat poverty and boost development. Only one in 10 Latin Americans are registered taxpayers, compared with six in 10 in developed countries. The richest 10% of taxpayers generate 80% of total revenue but they pay an average effective tax rate of just 3.8%, partly due to the generous treatment of investment income and tax breaks. Latin America is home to 99 billionaires, according to Forbes magazine, including Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim, who tops the publication's annual rich list.