Britvic believes there is considerable headroom for development in Ireland

Britvic believes there is considerable headroom for development in Ireland

Britvic has told investors that, despite misconceptions about the low growth potential in Ireland for the firm, there remains considerable headroom for development in the country going forward.

Speaking at a company investor seminar yesterday (24 March), Britvic Ireland's managing director, Andrew Richards told attendees that the company has a "strong starting point" for growth. By increasing its share of the soft drinks market by 100 basis points each year, the firm said it can drive around EUR800m (US$1.13bn) of additional revenue, despite a depressed macro economic environment.

"Once the market starts growing again, then the size of the prize will be even greater than this going forward," Richards said. "There is a misconception in some quarters that the Irish market holds little or no growth potential for Britvic. Let me be absolutely clear on this point: We have a strong starting point and, at 25% of the total soft drinks market [in Ireland], we have the highest market share of any business unit within the Britvic group. Whilst significant, this still gives us plenty of head room for growth."

Earlier this year, Britvic announced plans to make 100 staff redundant in Ireland through a restructure of its operations in the country. The Republic's prolonged recession has severely damaged consumer spending in the country.

Richards told attendees that Britvic Ireland has a number of launches in the pipeline over the next three years. For 2011 in particular, the company will extend its Mi Wadi and Robinsons brands to include double-concentrated squashes. In addition, Britvic will launch two new packs of cola to include a 50cl Pepsi Max beer bottle design and a 44cl EUR1 (US$1.40) can.

"Britvic Ireland is realistic about our short-term growth prospects, however we are equally clear that there is considerable headroom for Britvic Ireland to grow in the medium term," Richards told attendees. "We have great strength to leverage investment and position the organisation to drive future growth. I am confident that, driven by the internal changes we have made, ... we will deliver top-line growth and leverage that positively to ensure we grow our margin in a sustainable way."

Also addressing attendees was Britvic France's managing director Jean-Luc Tivolle, who outlined innovation for the firm in 2011.

He revealed that the Fruit Shoot brand will launch in France this year, as will two new variants of the Teissiere squash brand in Citrus and Cranberry. A zero sugar, stevia version will also be rolled-out.

In addition, Tivolle said the division will enter a new sub-category through the launch of Sicilia, a fruit juice drink in three flavours; lemon, lime and organic lemon.

A 100% french-origin juice drink named Mon Jus d'Ici will also be rolled-out, alongside a new Orchard Fruits variant of the already established Moulin de Valdonne organic juice brand.