New Zealand based Frucor Beverages expects the UK business of its V energy drink to reach the break-even point during the second half of the 2002 financial year.

Describing the UK as a fiercely competitive but under developed market Simon Pillar, chairman of Frucor Beverages told the National Business Review in hindsight, the company was perhaps ambitious to expect an early win in the UK.

Commenting further Pillar said that while a further loss is anticipated in the UK in the 2002 financial year, it is expected the business will reach break-even point during the second half.

Low distribution levels had at one time been blamed for the UK and Ireland being behind budget but heavy spending on expanding V in the UK has yet to reap any rewards for the company. According to the National Business Review segmented figures showed a net loss of A$10.2m (US$4.2m) on sales of A$10.5m.

Earlier, Mark Cowshill, Frucor's managing director told "If V was to achieve a one can per head of population over the next two to three years in the UK this would generate revenues of NZ$80m-$90m which would not only bring substantial revenue growth to Frucor but also substantial profits."