Ballygowan and MiWadi drive growth at Britvic Ireland

Strong sales of brands like Ballygowan and MiWadi drove a 4.1% rise in revenues at the Irish arm of international soft drinks producer Britvic in the first half of its current financial year.

Britvic — which inherited the likes of Club, MiWadi and Ballygowan when it acquired C&C Group’s former soft drinks division in 2007 — yesterday reported group revenue of £678m (€882m) for the six months to April 10, up 5.1% on the same period last year, with post-tax profit ahead year-on-year by 7.5% at £41.7m.

Its traditionally underperforming Irish operations generated revenues of £62.9m for the half year, up by 4.1% on a constant exchange rate basis and by 1.9% on an actual exchange rate basis.

Irish revenue growth amounted to 7.3% in the second quarter at a time when the overall soft drinks market in Ireland grew by just 1%.

“Ireland has now delivered revenue growth in four of the last five quarters. Our own-brand portfolio grew its value share, led by the stills brands which enjoyed growth, especially Ballygowan and MiWadi.

"We also saw a strong performance by the Counterpoint business in the licensed wholesale channel,” the company said.

On a group wide basis, Britvic said the roll-out of its Fruit Shoot brand in the US market is going to plan, with it being stocked in three leading retailers; Wal-Mart, Kroger and HEB.

Revenue in its traditionally strong markets of France and Britain disappointed. In France, sales fell by 5.6% to £108.6m, while GB Stills revenue fell by 8% to £147.7m, but the carbonated arm of the UK business grew sales by 2.4% to just under £294m.

Management left its full-year earnings guidance unchanged at a range of £180m-£190m.

“We retain our positive stance on the stock,” said Goodbody’s Patrick Higgins.

“We expect robust medium-term earnings per share growth, driven by continued cost efficiencies and innovation in the UK and top-line growth opportunities internationally,” he added.

“Overall, I am pleased with the progress we have made so far this year and we are on-track to deliver both our profit guidance for the year and to continue to build sustainable long-term shareholder value,” said chief executive Simon Litherland.

Britvic’s shares were down by nearly 2% in London yesterday.


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