Drinks group C&C has said that despite difficult trading conditions in the year to date, it expects operating profit for the 2014 financial year to be in the range of €125m to €132m.

This represents 10%-16% growth in earnings.

In an interim management statement issued ahead of its AGM today, the company said that it had completed the deal to buy the Gleeson Group in March.

It said the business is now being combined with its existing cider and beer business and will provide it with a platform to ''drive growth across the market''.

C&C said that trading conditions in its core Irish and UK markets were difficult in the three months to the end of May and are expected to remain so for the rest of the year.

The company said that markets were weaker in March and April due to unseasonably cold weather, while May saw a ''relative improvement''.

Shares in the firm ended the day 7% lower at €3.85 on the back of the results.

Overall volumes in Ireland were down 11.5% for the three months to the end of May, while net revenue fell by 13%. C&C said that Irish cider volumes decreased by 13.4% while beer volumes eased by 1.7%.

Cider volumes in the UK for the three month period fell by 22.2%, while net revenues dropped 24%. Volumes in its Tennent's UK division were down 12.4% while net revenue decreased by 6.1%.

However, business soared in its international division with volumes jumping 77.7% and net revenues up 76.6% on the back of the Vermont Hard Cider company acquisition. C&C said the division has ''attractive, long term prospects''.