UK: AG Barr weathers conditions to deliver growth
A.G.Barr has shrugged off the effects of poor weather and a toughening UK market to deliver growth in sales, margins and pretax profits for its full year.
The UK-based soft drinks group has today (1 April) reported a pretax profit of GBP20.83m for the 12 months to 26 January 2008 from GBP16.35m a year earlier, reflecting the significant prior year exceptional costs of re-organisation and rationalisation. Total sales grew by 4.6% from GBP141.9m to GBP148.4m in the period.
Operating profit, meanwhile, grew to GBP19.921m from GBP15,573m a year earlier.
Roger White, chief executive said: "The business made excellent progress over the last 12 months despite the difficulties of poor weather and increased competition in the soft drinks market. During the course of the last year we have grown our sales, improved our operating margins and continued to develop our strong portfolio of brands.
"The current challenging macro economic climate should have minimal impact on our business. We remain confident that we can deliver growth and improve business performance from our expanding stable of brands. The benefits of our capital investments and restructuring programme are now beginning to flow through improving cost and operational capability."
White added that Sales in the first seven weeks of the new financial year are 3% ahead of the same period last year.
Irn-Bru and Diet Iren-Bru both continued to show good year-on-year growth increasing sales revenue by over 3% in 2007. Market share gains were also made, especially in England and Wales where the brand grew market share by 10% in the period.
"This market share performance contrasts starkly with competing other flavoured carbonate brands - Fanta and Tango - both of which lost significant volume and share over the year. The Irn-Bru brand is now in value share terms bigger than the combined size of the Lilt, Sprite and Tango brands," White said.
Orangina meanwhile saw revenue growth of 13%, which the company said reflected consumers' response to the increased marketing investment in the brand and also the significant improvements to listings and distribution.
Tizer performed in line with the other flavoured carbonates sector this year with sales down 4% reflecting a combination of the poor summer and a number of previously lost listings impacting sales.
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