October 19, 2011 / 8:52 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-C&C says CEO to step down, H1 in line

* Chief operating officer Stephen Glancey to take over

* No change in management strategy

* Reaffirms full-year profit guidance

* H1 operating profit up 7.8 percent

* Shares down 5.3 percent (Adds management, analyst quotes, details)

By Conor Humphries

DUBLIN, Oct 17 (Reuters) - C&C said chief executive John Dunsmore would leave at the end of the year after leading a turnaround of the Irish drinks group, and reaffirmed full-year profit guidance when posting first-half results that met forecasts.

Dunsmore will be succeeded by finance director and chief operating officer Stephen Glancey who told reporters: “There is no change in strategy at all. You could not put a cigarette paper between us in terms of our view of the business.”

C&C shares were down 5.3 percent at 0850 GMT on Wednesday on a 0.2 percent higher Irish market . C&C’s share price has fallen a quarter in value since full-year results on May 18.

“It is a surprise for the market. People are asking questions about what is going on,” Bloxham analyst Joe Gill said. “But the numbers are reasonably solid, especially given the poor consumer background.”

First-half operating profit was up 7.8 percent to 67.4 million euros ($92 million), compared with a forecast for 66.4 million, while earnings per share were up 7.1 percent to 16.5 euro cents.

Dunsmore said the company had decided to cut the amount of senior management capability after three years of significant restructuring, including the acquisition of Tennants Lager and Gaymers cider and the divestment of its spirit business.

“We had a lot of activity in last few years. We now have an established focus,” Dunsmore said.

C&C reaffirmed guidance for an operating profit of 108-115 million euros for its 2011/12 year to February, saying strong performance from Tennants lager and a cut in low-margin off-sales made up for poor weather and weak economic conditions.

In Ireland, its Bulmers cider brand saw volume fall 3.5 percent, but profit in its home market overall was stable due to increased beer sales.

Volumes were down in both Gaymers cider and Tennants, which the company said was part of a strategy to boost margins.

The interim dividend was raised 11 percent to 3.67 cents. ($1 = 0.731 euro) (Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford and Dan Lalor)

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