Britvic has reported net sales up by 6% for the third quarter of its fiscal year, despite double-digit declines in the soft drinks firm's Ireland business.

The group, which owns Robsinsons and the licence to PepsiCo soft drinks in the UK and Ireland, said full-year figures are likely to beat market expectations.

Net sales reached GBP249m (US$406m) for the 12 weeks to 5 July, Britvic said today (14 July). Sales also rose by 6% for the group's first fiscal nine months, to GBP732m.

Excluding Ireland, the firm's net sales rose by 11.6% to GBP209.4m for the third quarter.

Ireland, which has seen consumer demand slide amid a deep recession in the country, saw sales revenue drop by 17%, on a sterling currency equivalent basis.

"Whilst Ireland continues to be a very challenging environment with no signs of improvement in the macro-economic conditions affecting the soft drinks market, our GB/International business in contrast continues to perform very strongly," said Britvic CEO Paul Moody.

Volume sales fell by 20% in Ireland during the third quarter, and were down nearly 10% for the nine months.

Total group volume sales increased by 4% for the third quarter, due to rises of 10% in UK carbonated drinks sales, 3% in still drinks and almost 12% in international markets.

Britvic will report its full third quarter results on 23 July.