C&C Group, the drinks company which bought Matthew Clark and Bibendum out of administration, has paid off £160m of the drinks distributor’s debt.
C&C Group acquired the company in April after its former parent company Conviviality issued a profit warning following the discovery of a £30m unpaid tax bill.
In its latest financial results for the six months ended 31 August 2018, the group’s CEO Stephen Glancey said at the end of September it had “settled £129m of monies owed to suppliers, paid taxes owed of £31m and collected £146m of monies due from customers.”
Overall, C&C reported a 6.4% increase in revenue to €838.7m (£743.6m) and an operating profit of €58.4m (£51.8m), up 4%. The group’s revenue showed 186% growth and operating profits were up 16%, including €6.1m (£5.4m) for Matthew Clark and Bibendum.
The group ended the period with a net debt of €278.9m £247.3m).
Glancey said: “Trading through the first six months has been strong driven by favourable summer weather and the impact of the World Cup. Encouragingly, our key brands have all delivered market share in their key markets and year on year revenue growth.
“In our core business, wholesale and wine also performed well with +11% revenue growth, shipping 0.56 million cases of wine a 2% increase from last year. We are reporting revenue growth of 186% and earnings growth of 16%.”
He added: “Cash flow remains strong and notwithstanding the acquisition our net debt to EBITDA at the half year was 2.1x. We are targeting 2.0x by end FY2020. Looking ahead, we have a degree of momentum in our core business and recognise the criticality of Christmas trading for Matthew Clark and Bibendum.
“We are very pleased with the way this business is responding following a very difficult trading period earlier in the year, with operational KPI’s now trending satisfactorily in the circumstances.”