Britvic has posted a "resilient" set of sales for its first half, thanks mainly to the first full six-month performance for its Irish unit.

The UK-based soft drinks company, which produces, markets, sells and distributes PepsiCo's brands in the country, said today (21 May) that net profit for the six months to 13 April increased by 19.3% on the corresponding period a year ago, coming in at GBP13m (US$). Group sales were up by 28.6% to GBP454.7m, driven by sales of GBP99.5m from Ireland. Sales from Britvic GB and International, however, inched up by only 1.9% to GBP355.2m. The company described the performance of its UK and International units as "resilient given challenging trading conditions and tough FY07 comparatives".

Operating profit leapt by almost a third in the half-year, climbing 29.8% to GBP31.4m.

"This is a positive result, given the challenging trading environment in the licensed on-premise market in particular and also in take-home, where the market is still recovering from the effects of last year's poor summer," said company chief executive Paul Moody.

"The integration of the Britvic Ireland business is progressing well and we are confident of delivering the EUR14m synergies previously announced.

"The first half of our year has been a period of modest growth for the soft drinks market overall, with improving growth trends evident in the early weeks of the second half," Moody continued. "We are well-positioned to drive group earnings growth through brand and product expansion, innovation, a continued close focus on cost control, and the realisation of the benefits of the outsourcing of retail distribution. The board remains confident that we will deliver on our full year expectations."