In Ireland, Britvic said its wholesale distributor Counterpoint, “also performed well”. 

The chief of Britvic in Ireland has hailed the “significant” role played by its Irish-made products such as Ballygowan, MiWadi and other low- or no-sugar products in boosting the group’s revenues, helping the company to offset the uncertainties raised by Brexit.

Shares in Britvic in London climbed up to 6% yesterday as the group, which also makes and distributes PepsiCo’s products such as 7-Up and Lipton Ice Tea, said its revenues for its first fiscal quarter rose 4.3% to £351m (€411.3m).

Sales were driven by a strong performance for its Irish operation after accounting for the huge currency boost following the surge of the euro against sterling.

Kevin Donnelly, managing director of Britvic in Ireland, said the success of new products which had focused on low- or no-sugar content was good news as the company prepared for the introduction of some sort of sugar tax, possibly next year.

Britvic Ireland has been working with officials and it was “hopeful” that the new tax would be assessed in a way that was least harmful to soft drink producers.

The tax has been planned to be introduced at the same time as the UK’s sugar tax to lessen potential disruption. 

Its focus on launching low- and no-zero products such as a version of MiWadi was paying off, Mr Donnelly said, and the company remains committed to Newcastle West and Dublin, despite the uncertainties caused by Brexit.

Mr Donnelly said that the Brexit uncertainty was particularly unwelcome because no one knew what sort of border tariffs could be imposed under the worst-case scenario of a hard Brexit.

The worst-case outcome involving the UK and EU imposing stiff tariffs would pose challenges for the industry in terms of raising complications in the supply chain across Ireland, he said.

However, Mr Donnelly said the company was getting on with the business of investing and delivering new products and would not be drawn off course by Brexit.

In Ireland, Britvic said its wholesale distributor Counterpoint, “also performed well”. 

It is about to absorb a new acquisition, East Cost Suppliers, after the regulatory approval. Irish revenues rose 6.4% in the quarter from a year earlier.

In Britain, revenues rose 2.2%, helped by deliveries to food chains such as Subway. The group also operates in France, the Benelux countries, US and Brazil.

The rise in the share price yesterday brings its gains to 10% since the start of the year. However, they are down over 9% in the past year.


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