UK based soft drinks company A.G. Barr Plc saw an improvement of almost 15% in its profit (before tax) for the year, being £13.9m ($19.9m), compared with £12.1m ($17.3m) for the previous year.

Reporting on its preliminary results for the year to January 2001, the Scottish based manufacturer of Irn-Bru, Tizer and the Orangina brands said that sales of its Barr brands in the UK, which were up by 4% "reflected a strong performance by our Irn-Bru brand."

The company also saw an increase in turnover for the year to January 2001 of £111.9m ($160.5m) nearly 2% above the previous year, which was £110m ($157.8m).

Commenting on the results Robin Barr, chairman said: "This reflects an excellent performance during the second six months of the year given the fact that, at the half way point, profit was lagging the previous year by some £0.5m ($0.7m)."

"The UK soft drinks market place remains an extremely competitive and changing environment but one in which we believe that a focussed company with well supported brands will best succeed."

The company also announced plans to improve its production and warehouse facilities by the end of June this year. And due to increasing demand for its various PET bottle sizes it wants to create a second PET filling line at its Cumbernauld factory.

"This will better balance production capacity against geographical demand at both our Mansfield and Cumbernauld factories," said Barr.