Britvic ramps up US expansion as sales fizz higher

 
Kasmira Jefford
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BRITVIC said yesterday kids in all US states can now access its Fruit Shoot brand after completing a nationwide distribution deal, as the Robinsons squash-maker reported a 21 per cent jump in first half profits.

The company signed a 15-year bottling deal in November with PepsiCo Americas Beverages to expand Fruit Shoot to 41 states and has since struck deals with other firms for the remaining states.

Chief executive Simon Litherland said it was also poised to launch the children’s drink in India in the coming weeks. The move to expand the brand was part of the new strategy laid out by the group last year after its £1.4bn merger talks with rival AG Barr broke down.

It also draws a line under Britvic’s past woes, when it was forced to recall the bottles in 2012 over faulty caps.

“This has been another period of solid progress... We have delivered strong revenue, profit and margin growth in the first half of the year and our cost saving programme continues to gain traction across our business,” Litherland said.

He added it was on track to deliver £30m of annual cost savings by 2016.

Britvic, which also owns Tango and produces PepsiCo brands such as Pepsi, Mountain Dew Energy and 7UP in the UK, reported pre-tax profits of £45.3m in the 28 weeks to 13 April, up 20.8 per cent on the previous year.

Sales fizzed up 4.7 per cent to £670.7m as a strong performance in the UK and France helped offset a 5.2 per cent slump in sales in Ireland.

Litherland said while conditions remained challenging this year, trading in the first quarter of the year was slightly ahead of last year.

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