Chelmsford: Britvic counts cost of Fruit Shoot recall

SOFT drinks group Britvic was today left counting the cost of the product recall which saw it pull newly-designed bottles of its Fruit Shoot drink from shop shelves during the summer.

The recall, which related to concerns over the safety of a new non-spill cap, contributed to a 4.3% fall in the company’s GB revenues during the final quarter of its financial year, leaving full-year sales across the group down 2.6%.

Britvic, whose operations include factories in Chelmsford and Norwich, said full-year GB revenues were 1.7% down, with “significant” volume and value growth in carbonates helping to offset the slide in stills resulting from the Fruit Shoot recall.

Revenues from the group’s Ireland business ended the year 9.6% down, following an 8.5% fall during the final quarter, and Britivic said the Irish market remained “very challenging”.

In France, Britvic grew revenues by 13.3% in the final quarter and by 8% over the year as a whole, but its International division ended the year with growth of just 0.7% following the 13.6% fall during the final quarter, with the Fruit Shoot recall also affecting exports to Belgium and the Netherlands.

However, chief executive Paul Moody hailed the strong performance of the GB carbonates business and said the board was “confident of delivering its expectations for the full year”.

Today’s statement was Britvic’s final trading update ahead of its annual results, due out on November 28.

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The group gave no further update on its proposed merger with rival A G Barr, other than to confirm that talks remained “on-going”.