Tuesday 3 August 2021 5:32 pm

Irn-Bru maker facing 'increased challenges' with lorry driver shortages

AG Barr has said it faces “increased challenges” with its haulage fleet while expecting to report a revenue of some £134m for the first half of the financial year.

Bosses have warned August will be a pinch point for the shortage of qualified HGV drivers, which was exacerbated by Brexit and the pandemic, as supermarkets have reported supply issues.

In an update, AG Barr said: “Our operational resilience has been excellent across the first half of the year. In recent weeks, however, we have seen increased challenges associated in part with the Covid-19 pandemic, across the UK road haulage fleet, impacting customer deliveries and inbound materials. 

“In addition, the risks associated with the wider labour pool and the current COVID-19 pandemic response, are areas we continue to monitor closely.”

The Rubicon and Funkin producer said revenue was expected to soar by 18 per cent on the previous year for the six months to 1 August. On a like-for-like 26-week basis revenue is expected to be up by 13 per cent.

Sales of Barr Soft Drinks benefited from a return to consumers buying drinks “on the go” after Covid restrictions were lifted while Funkin performed well with on-trade sales as venues reopened.

Full-year profits are estimated to recover just above the £37.4m recorded in 2019-20, the brand added.

“We plan to increase our brand investment in the second half of the year, building on our progress to date. While uncertainty remains, we are confident in delivering our plans across the balance of the year and meeting our recently revised full year profit expectations,” Roger White, AG Barr chief executive said.