U.K. Booze Stocks Slip as Cider Maker Warns of Weak December
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. drinks stocks fell on Friday after the maker of Magners and Bulmers ciders warned of a weak festive period because of curbs aimed at stemming the spread of the omicron Covid-19 variant.
“Conditions for our on-trade business were significantly impacted by renewed government restrictions across the U.K. and Ireland,” Dublin-based C&C Group Plc said in a statement. December delivered volume was just 64% of the same month in 2020, falling short of an expectation of 90%, with the company adding that operating profit for the second half of fiscal 2022 would be affected.
C&C fell as much as 3.6% in early London trading, while Guinness-maker Diageo Plc declined 2.1%. Tonic water group Fevertree Drinks Plc, which counts the U.K. as its top revenue market, dropped 6.1%. Continental peers AB Inbev NV and Heineken NV each fell more than 1%. The broader European Stoxx 600 index lost 0.6%.
“While disappointing, the update from C&C this morning is unsurprising given the scope of restrictions,” Goodbody analyst Patrick Higgins wrote in a note to clients.
Last month, the U.K. government said people should work from home again if possible, which was expected to significantly impact footfall at City-based bars and restaurants. Irish bars and eateries, meanwhile, were told to shut daily at 8 p.m. through Jan. 30.
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