Robinsons squash and J2O maker Britvic reported a sluggish started to the year, blaming tough market conditions due to changing shopping habits and increased competition between the traditional supermarkets and their discount rivals.
The maker of Tango and PepsiCo brands Pepsi Max and 7UP, reported a 7.1 per cent rise in earnings before interest, tax, and amortisation (EBITA) to £171.6m in the year to 27 September.
Over the year, the group sold over 2.1bn litres of soft drinks, up 0.9 per cent on the previous year, although the average realised price declined by 1.5 per cent to 60.5p. As a result, group revenue fell slightly by 0.6 per cent to £1.3bn.
Britvic’s UK still drinks business saw revenues fall by 4.1 per cent, after fierce competition and its decision to remove its Robinsons “added sugar” range took its toll on the group. Its carbonates business also edged down by 0.4 per cent.
However, in France, revenues rose by 4.2 per cent thanks to the summer heatwave, with syrups such as Teisseire performing particularly well.
Chief executive Simon Litherland said: "We have delivered another strong set of results, with margin growth and profit significantly ahead of last year, despite challenging market conditions. In all of our core markets, we continued to take volume and value share.”
However, he warned that the start of the new financial year had been slow due to the changing retail environment, and that any increase in disposable income “has not yet been reflected in their grocery spend on soft drinks”.
Litherland added: “With our compelling marketing and innovation plans and our continued focus on disciplined cost management we are confident of increasing our profitability in 2016".