Frucor Beverages Group has predicted Australian sales will accelerate in line with recent growth trends during the second half.

And as the company recorded revenues of A$120.7m for the six months to the end of December, jumping 55% on the previous year, it announced plans to focus on UK distribution and its smallest market, South Africa.

Frucor is predicting UK sales will begin to grow through the next quarter leading up to the summer. And even though sales are forecast slower than the company predicted, the situation will improve by the end of the year, the company said.

While revenues for 'V' in Australia have continued to grow strongly, low distribution levels for 'V' have been blamed for the UK and Ireland being behind budget. A distribution drive is now in progress and the company announced that the full impact of this push will be seen in March.

Frucor, and its UK distributors Petty Wood, have around 35 dedicated staff on the ground focussing on distribution for the 'V' product. The objective, both companies said, is to increase weighted distribution to 50% by early summer.

South Africa reported an improving market share but will trade behind forecast and Frucor has trimmed second half costs to offset the volume shortfall.

"Overall Frucor is forecasting very good growth in New Zealand and Australia and improving positions both in the UK and South Africa," said Frucor's MD Mark Cowshill.

"Second half growth versus the same period last year is predicted to be around 31%," he added.