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A strong period in Scotland for C&C

TENNENT'S owner C&C Group has highlighted strong trading in Scotland but warned its cider sales remain under pressure.

The Dublin drinks group said both its Irish and Scottish arms had put in a "solid" performance between March 1 and July 3, the first four months of its financial year.

It said: "Comparatives for the second quarter are tougher but the business remains on track for good earnings growth from both territories."

The integration of the Irvine based Wallaces Express drinks wholesale business, which C&C took full control of in March, is said to be progressing well and should complete before the end of the financial year.

C&C said cider sales in England and Wales were challenging but it felt progress had been made towards improving performance of brands such as Magners, Gaymers, Blackthorn and Bulmers.

In the United States, where C&C owns Hornsby and the Vermont Hard Cider Company, trading was said to be weak but in line with expectation.

It has started a new marketing campaign and repackaged its Woodchuck brand after it lost its market leading position to Boston Beer Company's Angry Orchard in June.

A new $34 million cidery is expected to open in the US towards the end of August.

Meanwhile volumes in other export markets were said to have grown in double digit percentage in the same four months.

Tennent's has been performing particularly strongly in Italy but is also in a number of other markets.

Niche products such as Tennent's Beer Aged with Whisky Oak and low alcohol Lemon T have been launched in outlets in Scotland.

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