Cott Corporation, the largest supplier of own label soft drinks in the world, reported a 32% rise in net income for the second quarter, ahead of analysts' forecasts. The Canadian company posted net income for the three months to the end of June of $19.2m, up 32% from $14.5m in the corresponding period last year.

Turnover was up by 8% to a record $329.5m. The company reaffirmed its sales growth target for the whole 2002 fiscal year of between 8% and 10%. It also increased its earnings per share guidance for the full year to between 76 cents and 78 cents

"Our performance is at a record pace for the year," said Cott's chairman, president and CEO, Frank E. Weise. "We anticipate strong growth for the balance of the year both in our ongoing businesses and in such acquisitions as our new venture in Mexico."

Weise was referring to Cott's recently unveiled Mexican joint venture with the Mexican soft drinks group, Embotelladora de Puebla SA de CV. It has been a busy period for Cott on the acquisition front with the group also announcing the acquisition of the US bottler, Premium Beverage Packers last month.

Sales in the US rose by 9% in the first quarter, while Canadian sales were up by 7%. The company reported that sales to the UK and other international markets were 2% higher. In addition to adding new major clients in the US, Cott said it expected its Canadian business to regain momentum and for its business in the UK and other international markets to move from loss into profit. Weise said these projections were "signs that point to successfully reaching our targets for 2002."