Ireland was the standout performer for British soft drinks producer Britvic in its latest financial year.
Revenues at Britvic’s Irish operations surged 12.5% to £174m (€195m), over the 12 months to the end of September. Britvic owns the likes of MiWadi, Ballygowan, and Club here.
Strong market value share growth for its squash/cordial brands and Ballygowan water helped to drive the Irish growth. The performance here was also aided by the incremental benefit of the East Coast Suppliers wholesale acquisition being fully realised in the first half of the year.
Britvic Ireland boosted its distribution capacity by acquiring the Dundalk, Co Louth-based drink wholesaler last year.
“This acquisition has enabled us to accelerate the distribution of Britvic brands in the growing Dublin on-trade sector,” said group chief executive Simon Litherland.
On an overall group basis, Britvic’s annual revenues came in at just over £1.5bn, 5.1% ahead of the previous year. Post-tax group profits were also up by around 5% to £117.1m, with adjusted earnings ahead by 5.4% at £206m.
“We have grown our stills brands, demonstrating that our investment in innovation and marketing is beginning to pay off,” said Litherland, who called the financial performance “strong, in a challenging environment”.
“The investment in the transformational business capability programme is now nearing completion and is already delivering significant efficiency and commercial benefits. Free cashflow will increase materially in 2019 as capital spend falls back towards normal levels,” he said.
Revenues at Britvic’s UK stills and carbonated drinks divisions rose 4% and 10%. The UK and Ireland performances were played out in the first year of new sugar taxes in both countries.
Poor weather pulled the soft drinks market into decline in France, resulting in a challenging year for Britvic in one of its core markets. The group’s French operations saw revenue fall over 4% to £269.2m. Organic revenue fell 5.7% in France, with sales volumes down 6.4%. Revenue in Britvic’s international business increased close to 6% to £49m.
The company’s shares were up by more than 4.6%, yesterday, and Litherland said management is confident of continued earnings, dividend and shareholder value growth.