Britvic reassures on profit as Irish declines hit sales

City A.M. Reporter
SOFT drinks maker Britvic said it was confident of meeting market estimates for fiscal 2009 operating profit, but Irish sales in the fourth quarter were hurt by volume declines amid tough economic conditions.<br /><br />The company, whose brands include Robinsons, Tango and J2O, said the Irish soft drinks market showed no indication of a return to growth in the short term with unit volumes down 13.9 per cent in the quarter to end-September.<br /><br />&ldquo;The Irish economy is very challenging, by any measure it is still tough &ndash; in terms of trading in the market, it&rsquo;s been indicated it is in severe decline,&rdquo; chief executive Paul Moody said. <br /><br />Irish sales accounted for 20 per cent of the company&rsquo;s total revenue in the first half.<br /><br />The company said revenue for the 52 weeks to 15 October grew 5.6 per cent to &pound;979m as it sold more branded soft drinks at higher prices. <br /><br />Britvic also said it was confident of meeting analysts&rsquo; estimates for earnings of &pound;110m for the full year.