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UK: Merrydown six-month figures looking good

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Merrydown plc has posted a rise in turnover despite the poor summer weather. The owner of Shloer adult soft drink and Merrydown cider brands said yesterday (13 October) that it had enjoyed a strong six months to the end of September.

Shloer has delivered 14% turnover growth and gained further market share from competitors in the adult soft drinks category, Merrydown said, while Merrydown Vintage has enjoyed double-digit organic growth. Merrydown credited the cider brand's growth to distribution gains and said that it is now in its best trading position for many years as the introduction of new packaging and the current polarisation of the market appears to be favouring premium cider offerings.

In a statement, Nigel Freer, chief executive of Merrydown, said: "Given the very real issues concerning the poor summer weather affecting some companies, this is a very pleasing position to be in. Our outlook remains positive and we look forward to reporting on further progress in November."

"It remains our policy to concentrate on Merrydown branded sales rather than bulk products and overall group turnover is approximately 8% ahead of the same period last year," the company said in the statement.

"It is expected that profit before exceptional costs for the 6 months will be in excess of £0.75m reflecting the strong performance of the group's key brands," the company added.

In July, Merrydown announced the closure of its production site at Horam and confirmed its successful strategy to focus on brand management. Shloer bottling will cease in November 2004, the company said, and all activities at Horam are expected to have finished by the end of March next year.

The interim results will be announced on 29 November.


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