Britvic Ireland wants more clarity on sugar tax plans

Soft drinks manufacturer Britvic Ireland is calling for more clarity around the Government’s sugar tax proposals, due for implementation next April.

Currently, 75% of the company’s Irish sales volumes would not be liable for the tax, due to its growing migration towards low-sugar, “healthy hydration”-focused drinks. Just six years ago that figure would be closer to 50%.

That said, Kevin Donnelly – chief executive of Britvic’s operations in Ireland – remains concerned. He wants the same mechanisms that apply in Britain, which is also due to introduce a sugar tax next April, to be implemented here.

British drinks firms have a full year to change their IT and invoicing systems ahead of the levy taking effect.

Mr Donnelly also wants “a level playing field” of tax implementation between drinks bottled here (only 30% of what’s consumed in Ireland) and those imported from the UK. While the consultation process surrounding the Irish tax continues ahead of the October budget, Britvic wants more communication around what part of the supply chain the tax will actually target. Mr Donnelly was speaking on the back of a strong set of first half figures for Britvic Ireland, which showed a 13.3% year-on-year rise in revenue to £80.3m (€93m) for the six months to the middle of April.

The last three months represented Britvic’s ninth consecutive quarter of sales growth in Ireland.

However, UK sales of the Ballygowan brand have been hampered by a weaker sterling.

Britvic Ireland also has Brexit concerns - with the potential for border tariffs and two separate sugar taxes to meet - being its chief worries.


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