UK soft drinks group Britvic has had its share coverage lowered.

Citigroup yesterday (6 March) reduced its rating on the recently-floated company to 'hold' from 'buy,' with the price target dropping to 230 pence from 320.

The bank warned that Britvic's recent trading statement was disappointing on three counts. While limited growth was seen in net sales in the first quarter of this year, a sharp decline in CSD sales was seen during January and February.

Citigroup also noted Britvic's forecast for sales growth this year was just 3% as early as March.

In the trading statement last week, Britvic blamed the acceleration in consumer trends towards 'better for you' for the tough start to the year. The company noted, however, that it was performing well against this background, particularly in adult, cola and juice drinks.

The UK's second largest soft drinks group floated in December last year, at a price of GBP494m (US$858m) or GBP2.30 per share.