Belfast Telegraph

Global giant C&C buys Irish drinks maker

C&C is to buy one of the best-known drinks manufacturers and distributors in the country in a multimillion-euro deal.

The drinks company said it will acquire the Gleeson Group, which makes Tipperary Water and the Finches line of soft drinks, for €12.4m (£10m). The deal includes a deferred payment of €4.4m, while C&C will also take on Gleeson's debt of some €45.6m, implying an enterprise value of €58m.

As well as having its own manufacturing business, Gleeson is also the biggest distributor of beers and other so-called long alcoholic drinks (LAD) in the country. The deal gives C&C direct access to 10,000 pubs and other licensed premises around Ireland.

C&C chief executive Stephen Glancey said the deal represented a "significant" investment in Ireland by the company and would help diversify the business away from purely cider and lager.

"The acquisition has the potential to transform our existing Irish business through the addition of an extensive distribution network and the creation of an attractive, multi-beverage brand platform.

"The acquisition also accelerates the reshaping and diversification of C&C in Ireland. The extended portfolio and direct distribution network should create a more resilient trading model that is better suited to dealing with the challenges of both current and future trading environments.

"It is a model that has the potential to deliver growth through investment, further brand acquisition and new agency agreements," he added.

"Ireland remains a pretty significant revenue generator for us and we find this deal especially attractive.

"We think the market here is troughing and while it might be still taking time to bottom out, Gleeson is the number one distributor and it gives much more of a presence in the multi-beverage space," he added.