European private equity group Permira has refused to rule out an agreed takeover of UK soft drinks firm Britvic.

Permira moved to issue a statement on its rumoured interest after speculation this weekend suggested that it was ready to table an offer for the London-listed company.

Permira said it reserved the right to "make or participate in an offer within the next six months" if recommended by the Britvic board or if a third party made a bid for the company.

Speculation over Britvic, which produces brands including Robinsons and Tango, has been rife in recent months following the company's flotation late last year. Britvic has found the going tough since it listed last December. Just two months after flotation, Britvic shocked investors with a profit warning, and the company's share price promptly tumbled 23%.

On Friday, Britvic reported an upbeat trading update after its stills portfolio gave a timely boost to sales over the last five months. The company said branded revenues during the 20 weeks had inched up 0.4%.

A Britvic spokesman refused to comment on Permira's interest in the company. "It's inevitable that when you become a plc that speculation about the company becomes commonplace," he told just-drinks. "It's something that we have to come to terms with."