SOFT drinks producer, Britvic — which owns Irish brands Ballygowan, Club, Cidona and Mi-Wadi — has successfully re-financed its bank debt facility, effectively giving the company access to increased funds of £333 million (€373.7m).
The new £283m (e317m) six-bank-backed multi-currency banking facility will mature in May 2012 and will kick-in when the company’s existing £300m (336m) revolving facility matures in May of next year. “The successful conclusion to the refinancing is a reflection of our strong relationships with our banking partners and the confidence they have in our trading performance and our strong cash generation,” commented Britvic’s group finance director John Gibney.
In an Irish context, the company — which acquired the soft drinks arm of C&C for e249.2m in 2007 — is due, next month, to formally unveil Andrew Richards as the new managingdirector of its operations here, taking over from Billy O’Regan.
The British-owned company is also set to publish its first half results — for the six months to the end of March — on May 20.
No plans have been communicated for the new funds, but the company’s focus remains the restructuring of its Irish operations — 145 jobs going here over the course of the year, as the group’s Cork, Waterford and Donegal distribution plants are combined with the Dublin facility.
While EBITA (earnings before interest, tax and amortisation) at Britvic’s Irish operations grew by e2m to e21m last year, the company has since reported that the Irish arm’s contribution to group sales fell by 2% — on a year-on-year basis — in the first quarter of its current financial year.
Earlier this year, the company said that thedownsizing of the Irish side of the business was necessary due to what it called “the exceptionally challenging economic and retail conditions in Ireland”.
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