• Q1 fiscal-2018 sales inch up 0.7% to GBP337.2m (US$475.2m)
  • Reported sales in 12 weeks to 24 December increase by 3.3%
Britvic will report its half-year results in May

Britvic will report its half-year results in May

Britvic has reported flat sales for the first quarter of its fiscal-2018, as the introduction of a sugar tax looms in its domestic market.

The UK-based soft drinks group said today that sales in the 12 weeks to 24 December rose by 0.7%. In the corresponding period a year ago, sales improved by 4%.

CEO Simon Litherland said the introduction of a sugar tax in the UK this April "brings a level of uncertainty". However, he maintained that Britvic is "well-placed to navigate" the changes, "given the strength and breadth of our brand portfolio and ... marketing and innovation plans". 

On a reported basis, which factors in ForEx fluctuations and excludes last year's purchase of Bela Ischia Alimentos in Brazil, sales were up 3.3%, compared to a 14% lift in Q1 fiscal-2017.

In the UK - Britvic's largest market - sales inched up 1%, thanks to a 5% lift for the CSD portfolio. Stills sales, however, declined 6.6%. The numbers continue full-year 2017 trends, in the UK, when CSD sales rose 4%, offsetting a 5% slide for stills.

Elsewhere, France dipped 5%, owing to a "subdued market", while Britvic's international reporting unit fell 8%, compared to a near-20% increase last year, driven by the launch of Fruit Shoot multipacks in the US.

Both Ireland and Brazil saw sales increases - 16.5% and 22.6% respectively - driven by last year's purchases of wholesaler East Coast in Ireland and Bela Ischia in Brazil.

As part of the update, Litherland confirmed that the closure of Britvic's Norwich plant is scheduled for 2019. The company announced plans to close the site last October.  At the same time, 80 new jobs will be created at the group's Rugby facility with the introduction of new lines and warehousing. The changes are expected to amount to GBP35m to GBP40m of one-off costs this year.

Looking forward, Litherland said: "Our continued focus on revenue and cost management and the delivery of the final phase of our business capability programme means we remain confident of making further progress in 2018."

Britvic will release its interim results on 23 May. 

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