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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 October 2006, 09:32 GMT 10:32 UK
Sparkling profits at Magners firm
Magners promotional material
Served with ice, Magners seeks to be different from other ciders
Sparkling sales of Magners cider in the UK have helped boost profits at the brand's Irish owner C&C Group.

Magners benefited from nationwide distribution for the first time in early 2006, with volume sales up 264%.

Launched in Northern Ireland in 1999, Magners has grown steadily and sales were helped by July's hot weather.

The success of Magners and Bulmers cider, sold mainly in Ireland, helped to boost C&C Group's first-half profits by 52% to 102m euros (68.8m).

'Rapid growth'

The firm is expecting Magners, which was trialled in Scotland in 2004 and parts of London in 2005 before going nationwide, to go from strength to strength.

The drink has made a significant contribution to profits despite heavy expenditure on marketing to build its profile among UK drinkers.

"Magners has enjoyed rapid growth in the UK," said Maurice Pratt, C&C's chief executive.

Cider sales account for more than half of the firm's total revenues and C&C recently began a 135m expansion of its manufacturing plant in Clonmel to help maintain this growth.

C&C, which floated in 2004, also distributes spirits and soft drinks but recently completed the sale of its snacks subsidiary Tayto Crisps.

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