Britvic "cautious" on Q2 trading

Britvic "cautious" on Q2 trading

Britvic, the UK's largest soft drinks group, has reported an increase in first quarter sales but struck a cautious note on second quarter trading.

Net sales rose by 11% to GBP242.7m (US$392.4m) for the 12 weeks to 20 December 2009, said the producer of Robinsons squash and Tango in a trading update today (27 January).

UK and international revenues grew by 15.2%, representing UK carbonates growth of 20.1%, UK stills growth of 9.6%, and Britvic international growth of 5.1%, said Britvic, which owns the licence for PepsiCo drinks in the UK and Ireland.

Despite the rises, chairman Gerald Corbett said the firm expects to see a slower rate of growth in January due to bad weather.

He said Britvic remains cautious about the outlook for consumer confidence and spending in the balance of the financial year, but he added that performance in the year to date was in-line with group expectations.

In the UK Britvic said it had again outperformed a soft drinks market that has continued its return to growth, with its volume share of the take-home market increasing by a further 0.4% in the period. Sales were up against the prior year in all four of Britvic's UK trading divisions.

Brands such as Robinsons squash and J2O, alongside more recently-introduced brands such as Fruit Shoot H2O and Gatorade, drove Britvic's stills volume growth of 3.1%.

Carbonates volumes rose 16.8%, while Britvic's International business delivered volume growth of 11.3% through distribution gains in existing and new territories.

For Britvic Ireland however, owned-brand volumes were down by 4% in the quarter.

The contribution from Britvic Ireland of GBP48.4m for the three-month period was down by 3% on the same period in the prior year. Underlying euro revenues were down by 10.1%.

Corbett said the firm anticipates that the UK soft drinks market will continue to demonstrate resilience through 2010, although the Irish market is expected to remain “challenging”.

Britvic this month announced it is to invest GBP11m to build its presence in the country's on-trade in 2010.

A new customer training scheme will support pub and bar staff as part of the investment.

For the full announcement, click here.