Bulmer buys US cider firm

HP BULMER, makers of Strongbow and Woodpecker ciders, yesterday announced a major expansion in the US with the $14.4m (pounds 8.7m) cash acquisition of Green Mountain Cidery, writes Francesco Guerrera.

Green Mountain, of Vermont, controls 17 per cent of the US cider market through its Woodchuck brand. Bulmer already has a 9 per cent slice of cider sales in the US.

Mike Hughes, Bulmer's chief executive, said the purchase "creates a step change in Bulmer's presence in the fast-growing" US market. The company said it would invest in Green Mountain's operations, which would result in a "marginal dilution" to its earnings in the next two years. Last year Green Mountain reported a profit of $134,000 on turnover of $7.8m.

UK cider makers are finding themselves squeezed by the competition from alcopops and cheap imported lagers.