Britvic outruns cold conditions to post H1 2018 sales rise - results

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  • H1 organic sales climb 3%
  • Reported sales in 28 weeks to 16 April up 5% to GBP733.2m (US$977.7m)
  • Operating profits fall 16% to GBP52.9m
  • Net profits down 14% to GBP33.3m
  • GB carbonate volumes up 5%, driven by Pepsi Max

European soft drinks maker Britvic brushed off bad weather in its second quarter to post a solid sales jump in new H1 results.

Britvics Robinsons brand returned to sales and volumes growth in the UK

Britvic's Robinsons brand returned to sales and volumes growth in the UK

Organic sales in the 28 weeks to 16 April were up 3%, the UK-based owner of the Fruit Shoot brand said today. Reported sales, which include the effects of currency fluctuation, were even stronger, up 5% to GBP733.2m (US$977.7m).

The performance marked an improvement on Q1, when sales remained flat.

The company's CEO, Simon Litherland, praised the H1 results, adding that while it is still too early to gauge the effect of April's sugar tax implementation in the UK, early indicators on competitor and customer response "are broadly as we anticipated".

Litherland continued: "We have exciting commercial plans in place for the second half and I remain confident of continuing to make progress this year."

Snow and ice conditions in Europe in late-February - the so-called 'Beast from the East' - failed to make too much of an impact on European beverage sales. In April, Heineken said the cold weather failed to dampen demand for its beers in its first quarter as volumes for the brewer increased.

Britvic said today its Robinsons brand in the UK returned to volume and sales growth in Q2 on the back of new launches Fruit Creations and Cordials, which rolled out to the grocery channel in the quarter. Meanwhile, Pepsi Max, which Britvic handles in the UK through its distribution partnership with PepsiCo, continued to outperform the UK cola category, the company said.

Looking at the UK soft drinks market as a whole, Britvic cited Nielsen data that showed the category growing by 2% during its H1. Britvic's UK sales growth in the same period was 5%.

Profits for Britvic were down partly because of costs related to the closure of its Norwich site. The company said it took a GBP21.6m hit on restructuring costs, including employee costs and asset impairments from the factory closure, announced in December. Britvic said 249 staff - just over 6% of the company's total - will go at the Norwich plant, which produces Fruit Shoot and Robinsons. The site is expected to close towards the end of 2019.

To read Britvic's full H1 results, click here.

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Sectors: Company results, Soft drinks, Water

Companies: Britvic

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