Britvic hit by rise in costs

Soft drinks maker Britvic posted a small decline in first half profit as input cost inflation remained high, but said it was confident about the second-half.

Britain's second biggest soft drinks maker behind Coca-Cola Enterprises said underlying pretax profit for the six months to 17 April was £27.7m compared with £27.8m the year before.

The company also raised its interim dividend by 8.5 per cent to 5.1 pence, reflecting confidence in its future prospects.

"Our input cost inflation guidance for the remainder of the year is unchanged (at 9-11 per cent)...(but) trading in the first few weeks of the third quarter provides the board with further confidence in the outlook for the balance of the year," chief executive Paul Moody said in a statement.

Revenue grew by a quarter to 633.1 million pounds, said Britvic, whose brands include Robinsons, Tango and Fruit Shoot.

The Chelmsford-based company's shares, which have gained 16 percent over the past three months, closed at 426 pence on Thursday on the London Stock Exchange, valuing the company at just above 1 billion pounds.

The stock outperformed the FTSE All Share Beverages Index, which rose five per cent in the period.