Soft drinks group AG Barr has said that growth from its core Irn-Bru brand and a new partnership with Rockstar Energy boosted sales in its first half.

Revenue rose 5.8% to GBP82.4m (US$153.3m) for the six months ended 26 July, AG Barr announced today (23 September). Pre-tax profit rose by nearly 10% to GBP11.1m.

The Scottish drinks firm said the results kept it on-track to meet full-year expectations, "assuming [that] market conditions do not significantly weaken".

Its flagship Irn-bru drink saw sales rise nearly 6% during the period, while a new partnership with energy drink maker Rockstar Energy also lifted the performance. Underlying sales growth excluding Rockstar, as well as new brands Taut and Vitsmart, was 3.6%,  Barr said.

Value growth on the UK soft drinks market for the same period was 2.7%, the group claimed, citing Nielsen figures.

Price increases helped the firm to offset rising costs, particularly in packaging, it said, adding: "Whilst the impact of these cost increases is inescapable, we have seen the continued benefits of our prior year restructuring and ongoing cost control initiatives which have helped to maintain our margins."

Turmoil in financial markets has not jeopardised the GBP59.8m takeover of exotic juice maker, Groupe Rubicon, agreed in August, Barr said. The deal has been backed by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Barr said trading in the second half "has continued to be ahead of the prior year, but the sustained period of very poor weather through August has had a negative impact on the total market with increased levels of competitor promotional activity becoming evident".