Britvic toasts solid start to the year despite "uncertain" environment

Rebecca Smith
People had a taste for fizzy drinks rather than the likes of J2Os though
People had a taste for fizzy drinks rather than the likes of J2Os though (Source: Getty)

The owner of drinks brands including Robinsons, J20 and Fruit Shoot might have warned that Brexit would cap its fizz last year, but it's announced a strong start to the year in its first quarter results.

The figures

Revenue for the three months to 25 December 2016 was up 4.3 per cent to £351m, with volume growth of 3.9 per cent.

Sales in the UK rose 2.2 per cent, bolstered by growth in fizzy drinks, while still beverages declined 3.8 per cent, as consumers lost their taste for Fruit Shoot and Robinsons.

Pepsi Max and 7UP were still picking up fans though, along with with R Whites, which underwent a relaunch last year.

International growth provided a boost for the firm too: revenues rose 6.3 per cent in France, 7.9 per cent in Brazil and 19.8 per cent across the firm's international division.

Shares were up nearly three per cent to 606.50p in early trading.

Why it's interesting

The FTSE 250 company announced a $66m (£54m) deal to pick up Brazilian juice business Bela Ischia earlier this month. Today, it said the acquisition "remains on-track to complete by the end of March", and Britvic says as well as delivering "significant cost synergies", the move should also further strengthen its position in Brazil.

Britvic's latest Brazilian buyout comes after it took over soft drinks company Ebba in September 2015, which produces concentrate drinks Maguary and Dafruta.

The results are also positive news in the wake of the drinks maker's post-Brexit vote warning. In July last year, Britvic said the UK's decision to leave the EU will add more strain onto tough trading conditions for consumer drinks brands. It noted uncertainty among consumers and said weak sterling would place pressure on its input costs in the UK.

What the company said

Chief executive Simon Litherland said:

The new financial year has started well with group revenue 4.3 per cent ahead of last year, continuing the good progress we made as a business in the prior year.

Encouragingly all our key markets have delivered revenue growth.

Whilst the external environment remains uncertain, we are confident that the strong execution of our marketing and innovation plans combined with disciplined revenue management and our cost saving initiatives will deliver full year results in line with market expectations.

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