Britvic profits fall after Fruit Shoot blunder

 
Kasmira Jefford
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BRITVIC, the soft drinks maker merging with AG Barr, yesterday blamed the costly recall of its Robinsons Fruit Shoot drinks earlier this summer for a 19 per cent slump in full-year profit.

The company said the blunder dragged group revenue down 0.8 per cent at constant currencies to £1.3bn in the year to 30 September while underlying pre-tax profit fell to £84.4m.

Withdrawing the bottles due to faulty non-spill caps cost £16.9m in the period, and will cost up to £8m this coming year, it said, adding production would return to levels in line with historical demand by January.

Chief executive Paul Moody, who is due to step down next year after the merger with AG Barr, said the recall had offset a strong performance from its fizzy drinks brands while Robinsons squash also grabbed market share.

But he added that the wet weather and the tough trading conditions squeezing consumer spending had “weighed heavily” on the soft drinks market.

Britvic’s brands include J2O and Tango and it also makes and sells PepsiCo brands in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The group this month agreed to a £1.4bn all-share tie-up with the Scottish Irn Bru maker, which if approved will create one of Europe’s biggest soft drinks companies, named Barr Britvic Soft Drinks.

Roger White, the current head of AG Barr, will become chief executive of the new group.