Canadian soft drinks group Cott Corp. has had its rating raised.

UBS yesterday (6 December) lifted its coverage of the own-brand soft drinks producer from 'neutral' to 'buy'. The brokerage said that it expects a turnaround in the underlying trends from the business over the next 12 to 36 months.

UBS drew comparisons to Cott in 1999, when chief executive Frank Weise reversed the company's fortunes by implementing various cost reduction and growth initiatives.The broker has a price target of US$18 on Cott's stock.

In October, Cott confirmed the closure of two sites in the US - in Kentucky and Pennsylvania - as its third-quarter figures highlighted the difficulties it is facing in North America. Sales in volume terms for the three-month period slid by 6.6%, despite a 30% leap in volume sales internationally, driven by the UK and Mexico.