Irish drinks company C&C floats at bottom of range

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The Independent Online

Shares in the Irish drinks company C&C floated at the bottom of their indicated range yesterday due to choppy stock markets, but the company said it was happy to get the deal away, given the volatile conditions.

Shares in the Irish drinks company C&C floated at the bottom of their indicated range yesterday due to choppy stock markets, but the company said it was happy to get the deal away, given the volatile conditions.

C&C set its float price at €2.26 per share, at the bottom of its €2.26-€2.74 range and valuing the owner of Bulmers cider in Ireland and Ballygowan water at €723m.

C&C, formerly known as Cantrell and Cochrane, initially planned to come to market two years ago, but was forced to postpone due to weak demand. Maurice Pratt, the chief executive, said he was delighted, "particularly given the volatile market conditions experienced this week".

He added: "The strong calibre of the shareholder base reflects the understanding of the business dynamics and prospects of C&C."

Some 176 million shares, representing 55 per cent of the company, were sold for €398m by C&C's backers BC Partners and the management. The shares hovered around the issue price all day and closed at €2.25.

"Given the uncertain market conditions over the last week or so it was always likely to go at the lower end," David Beaton, an analyst at Dolmen Securities in Dublin, said. "That low price is primarily due to market conditions, although I think people might also have some concerns about the growth prospects of C&C's core brands."

C&C, only the second Irish company to float in three years, says volume sales have increased 7.7 per cent so far this year. The company employs 2,000 people.

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