UK soft drinks group Nichols expects its "robust trading" this year to continue after seeing first-half profits rise.

Nichols, which produces the Vimto brand, said yesterday (2 August) that pre-tax profits were up by 15.1% to GBP2.3m (US$4.3m) for the six months to 30 June. Sales rose 6.7% to GBP26.2m.

Chairman John Nichols said Vimto had grown its share of a "highly competitive market place". He said: "Given the momentum we now have and with better than average summer weather so far, we anticipate that our full year results will show further progress".

Nichols distributes the Sunkist and Panda brands in the UK. The company said the latter's relaunch in April had been "well-received" and would be backed by a national ad campaign this summer.