ref="http://www.cityam.com/company/britvic">BRITVIC will start manufacturing its children’s Fruit Shoot brand in the US for the first time after signing distribution deals, which will also see it double its presence to six states.
The UK’s second-biggest soft drinks maker behind Coca-Cola announced an agreement with Pepsi Bottling in the US, to manufacture and distribute Fruit Shoots in North and South Carolina rather than ship it from the UK.
It has also signed two further deals that will see its products sold in Kentucky, Florida and Georgia.
The announcement was welcomed by investors after the group posted flat underlying pre-tax profits of £105.1m for the year to 2 October, up 0.5 per cent up on the previous year.
Chief executive Paul Moody said the firm had delivered “a robust set of results, despite the particularly challenging economic backdrop” in 2011.
Total revenue for the company, whose brands also include Robinsons and Tango, rose 15.1 per cent to £1.29bn for the year, thanks largely to the purchase of Fruité, a French soft drinks company.
Fizzy drink volumes for the year rose three per cent, helping to offset a 1.8 per cent fall in the volume of still drinks sold in the year.
The arm suffered a 3.2 per cent, decline in sales to £494m. It blamed poor summer weather for hurting sales of Robinson’s during the Wimbledon period.
Britvic raised its full-year dividend by six per cent to 17.7p.
The group’s shares, which have risen 14 per cent in the last three months closed up 0.9 per cent at 339.5p.