Essex: Britvic reports ‘robust’ first half despite dip in profits

SOFT drinks group Britvic today reported a “robust” first half performance, despite posting a dip in pre-tax profits.

Revenues across the Chelmsford-based company grew by 1.7% in the 28 weeks to April 15 to �641.1million, including growth of 2.4% in home market taking GB revenue to �430.9m.

The group’s France and International divisions also saw strong growth but the Britvic Ireland operation continued to struggle in a declining market, and Britvic said “further decisive action” was being taken on costs in response.

Group pre-tax profits were 10.5% down on last year’s first half, at �24.8m against �27.7m, with the fall largely reflecting increased costs of sales, but net debt was reduced by 3.9%, to �534.4m, and the board is proposing a 3.9% increase in the interim dividend to 5.3p per share.

Britvic chief executive Paul Moody said: “Despite the challenging economic environment, Britiv has delivered a robust performance and made encouraging progress on key initiatives.

“Revenues increased for the group, GB, International and France, delivering improved cash flow, enabling a reduction ind ebt and a proposed further increase in the interim dividend.”

He added: “Although the GB soft drinks market in April and early May has been adversely impacted by the poor weather, Britvic has continued to grow market share and with the key summer months ahead, we currently remain comfortable with delivering the full year performance in line with out expectations.2