Britvic has appointed two banks to look at an initial public offering. Citigroup and Deutsche Bank have been given the task of looking into an offering, which could launch early next year.

Press reports in August this year suggested that the British soft drinks company was hoping to float this year. A source close to the IPO plans told, however, that the earliest Britvic could float is January. If market conditions are not right, the source said, the offering could be delayed until well into 2005 or even beyond.

"It's very early days [for the IPO]," the source told the website. "A lot depends on what happens on the markets over the next few months. No decisions have been taken yet on timing."

Britvic's largest shareholder is London-based InterContinental Hotels Group plc, which holds 47.5%. Whitbread plc and Allied Domecq each hold 23.75%, while PepsiCo has 5%.