Essex: Flat profits for soft drinks group Britivic

SOFT drinks company Britvic today reported increased annual sales and profits, despite a fall in earnings from its non-carbonated brands in the UK.

The Robinsons and Tango maker, which is based in Essex, said poor sales of brands such as Fruit Shoot and J20 within the hard-pressed pubs sector had contributed to a 3.2% decline in revenue for the division in the year to October 2 to �493.5 million.

Disappointing summer weather had also hit sales of Robinsons products, together with some evidence of shoppers trading down to cheaper alternatives.

With the group also absorbing some increases in input costs to help maintain demand, profits for the division fell by 11.2% to �150.1m.

However, this was partly offset by the UK fizzy drinks business – which includes Pepsi products, which Britvic produces under licence in the UK – where sales rose by 73% to �502.6m and profits by 3.1% to �189.1m.

Across the group, which also trades in Ireland, France and the United States, pre-tax profits edged ahead by 0.5% to �105.1m, although earnings adjusted for currency movements were flat.

Group revenue was 15.1% up (14.6% at constant exchange rates) at �1.29bn, although underlying growth, excluding the impact of its acquisition of Fruite Enterprises (now renamed Britvic France) last year, was just 0.9% (0.8% at constant exchange rates).

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The performance was dragged down by Ireland, where sales fell by 9.6% amid the country’s tough economic conditions, but international sales, including the US, were up 12.8%.

Chief executive Paul Moody said: “Britvic has delivered a robust set of results, despite the particularly challenging economic backdrop in 2011.”

This reflected the strength of the group’s brands and the quality of its innovation programme, he added.

Britvic is currently based in Chelmsford but in July it announced plans to relocated its head office by the middle of next year. It will retain its factory at Widford, just outside Chelmsford.