Britvic says growth to slow on cold snap

City A.M. Reporter
SOFT drinks company Britvic yesterday reported an 11 per cent rise in first-quarter revenues but expects to see slower second-quarter growth due to tougher comparisons and recent bad weather.

The producer and licensed bottler of brands including Robinsons, Tango, J2O, Pepsi and 7Up, on Tuesday posted first-quarter sales of £243m for the 12 weeks to 20 December, as strong growth in its British and international markets offset a sluggish performance in Ireland.

The revenue rise was well ahead of the 4.2 per cent increase reported in the fourth quarter.

“Given the exceptionally strong performance during the comparative period in 2009, the second quarter would be expected to see a relative slowing of the rate of growth,” the company said.

It added: “In addition, adverse weather conditions have been unhelpful in the early weeks of January resulting in a marked slowing of demand and looking ahead, we again remain cautious about the outlook for consumer confidence and spending in the balance of the financial year.”

Sales growth in Britain was driven by carbonated soft drinks, sales of which were up 20 per cent, while still drinks were 9.6 per cent higher than the same period a year ago. Despite this, Britvic, which recently raised $250m (£154m) through a private placement in the US, said it was confident of meeting its expectations for the full year. The company is expected to report an average pretax profit of £97.3m for the year to September, according to consensus estimates.