Britvic slumps on stake sale

SHARES in soft-drink maker Britvic yesterday fell by 5.3 per cent to 275p after it emerged its biggest shareholder Permira had dumped its 14 per cent stake in the company.<br /><br />Broker UBS placed the 30.2m shares at 265.5p yesterday &ndash; a discount to Tuesday&rsquo;s closing price &ndash; netting Permira around &pound;81.5m.<br /><br />Permira said: &ldquo;Our strategy is to make controlled investments and, as such, we have decided to sell our passive stake in Britvic though the company has continued to perform well.&rdquo;<br /><br />The European buyout house bought an initial three per cent stake in the maker of Robinsons juices in December 2006 at 268p per share, before expanding this to 14 per cent.<br /><br />It was expected to use the investment as a springboard to make a full buyout bid, which failed to materialise. A source close to the situation said that Permira had recently decided to exit in the hope of achieving a good price after Britvic&rsquo;s upbeat trading update.<br /><br />However, the discounted price has left Permira nursing a loss on its investment, excluding dividends, of &pound;755,000. Last week, Britvic reported pre-tax profits in the half year to 12 April rose by 16.3 per cent from the same period a year ago to &pound;20m.