Currency volatility and consumer uncertainty after the UK’s vote to leave the EU has hit first half sales and profits at Magners producer C&C Group (CCR).

The cider-maker and brewer reported an 8.1% fall in revenues in the six months to 31 August to €307m at constant currencies, while operating profit dropped 7.9% to €55.1.m.

C&C said this first half performance was “defined by currency headwind and investment in marketing and price support to drive momentum in our core brands.”

It said the fall in the value of sterling particularly following the Brexit vote had an adverse impact on reported revenues and operating profits of €24.4m and €2.8m, respectively.

C&C also said it was “seeing some volatility in consumer behaviour across our industry” as a result of the heightened economic uncertainty following the Brexit vote and subsequent devaluation in sterling.

Despite the headline drop in sales, it stabilised trading in Ireland and Scotland, with Bulmers volumes up 6% and Tennent’s volumes up 2%.

Investment behind its Magners Original brand helped grow volume and share as category rationalises, with Magners brand volumes up 11% and market share 140 basis points.

Export markets also saw 10% volume growth and now represent 4% of group volumes.

CEO Stephen Glancey said: “While reported earnings have been impacted by a combination of accelerated investment and currency we believe that this level of investment ultimately underpins long term brand values.

“In the first half we have seen some variability in consumer demand and are cautious on forward consumer reaction to political and economic conditions in our core markets. However, we have a business that is capable of weathering these challenges and our confidence in the medium to long term outlook is based on the strength of our key brands, our business model and leading positions in Ireland and Scotland – where fundamentals remain strong.”

C&C Group shares have dropped 1% this morning to €3.52.

Morning update

Packaging firm DS Smith (SMDS) has issued a pre-close trading update for the half-year ending 31 October 2016.

It said it has “again made good progress and performance remains in line with our expectations” during the period.

“Volume growth continues to be supported by strong ongoing growth with our large pan European customers… As in previous periods, we have invested in both organic and inorganic opportunities in the half-year and are pleased with the initial performance of the recently acquired display businesses, Creo and Deku-Pack, which form an important part of our strategy for this growth market segment.”

Miles Roberts, group chief executive, said: “The business continues to demonstrate good momentum with growth in line with our expectations, despite the considerable political and economic uncertainty. Alongside our ongoing delivery, we are also investing in our growth markets, particularly in packaging that helps our customers serve consumers across a broader range of retail channels. These opportunities, together with our broader geographical footprint, give us continued confidence in our future.”

AIM-listed palm oil producer MP Evans (MPE) updated the market last night on its decision to reject the 640p per share £360m “unsolicited” bid from KLK. The board met yesterday and said it has “no hesitation in unanimously concluding that the offer is wholly inadequate and very substantially undervalues the Company, its unique position and its future growth potential.”

It said it has received the “immediate and unequivocal support” of shareholders representing 55% of the company’s shares to reject the bid. Its shares rocketed by 50% on Tuesday from 420p to 620p when news of the bid emerged.

TATE & Lyle (TATE) has announced that Jeanne Johns has been appointed as a non-executive director and a member of the corporate responsibility, remuneration and nominations committees. She is based in the US and is a non-executive director of US engineering and construction firm Parsons Corporation.

Science in Sport (SIS) CEO Stephen Moon has invested £25k in shares, buying 40,983 ordinary shares for 61p each. He now owns 716,313 Ordinary Shares, representing approximately 1.66% of the firm.

On the markets this morning the FTSE 100 is flat at 6,956.6pts after recovering from an early dip.

Early risers include Hilton Food Group (HFG), up 2.4% to 630p, McBride (MCB), up 2.2% to 185.5p, Ocado (OCDO), up 1.5% to 278.4p and Compass Group (CPG), up 1.2% to 1,478p.

Fallers so far include Science in Sport, down 3.6% to 59.3p, Hotel Chocolat (HOTC), down 3.5% to 265p, Applegreen (APGN), down 2.2% to 381.3p and Marks & Spencer (MKS), down 1.7% to 336.6p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 dropped to a three-week low yesterday after falling 0.9% to 6,958.1pts as lower commodity prices squeezed a number of shares.

However, grocery retailers largely escaped the negative sentiment, with Tesco (TSCO) and Sainsbury’s (SBRY) rising 1.6% to 213.6p and 1.3% to 243.4p respectively, while Marks & Spencer (MKS) rose 2.4% to 342.3p.

C&C Group was also up ahead of its half-year results this morning, rising 2.3% to €3.55.

However, there were some notable FTSE 100 fallers. Costa Coffee owner Whitbread (WTB) plunged 2.6% to 3,528p after a number of brokers put out negative opinions of the stock following its first half results earlier this week.

British American Tobacco (BATS) was also down 2.9% to 4,583p as ratings agencies suggest it faced downgrades relating to its efforts to buy US contemporary Reynolds.

Other fallers included McBride (MCB), down 3.5% to 181.5p, PZ Cussons (PZC), down 1.5% to 340.7p, Cranswick (CWK), down 1.5% to 2,261p and WH Smith (SMWH), down 1.1% to 1,495p.