The UK soft drinks group, AG Barr, posted a pre-tax profit for the six months to 26 July 2003 of £7.18m, up 16% from £6.18m in the corresponding period in 2002.

Operating profit rose by 14.6% from £6.04m to £6.92m on sales up 5.9% from £62.22m to £65.89m.

"This excellent result reflects a continuation of the improvement achieved during the last full year to January 2003 and was boosted by the very favourable weather conditions this summer with a consequential increase in sales volumes," said CEO, Robin Barr. "We are in a market segment where demand has been buoyant this year and is forecast to continue to rise long term."

Barr said that its citrus-based and non-carbonate portfolio, including Orangina, Lipton Ice Tea, Simply Citrus and Findlays Water, had benefited the most from the hot summer weather.

Sales remained buoyant after the end of the period under review, Barr said, with the hot weather continuing into August, though this was being compared with a period of hot weather the year before. Turnover for the first seven weeks of the second half of the year was up by 2% from the year before.