Britvic Ireland’s 15% sales growth ‘not indicative of market turnaround’

SOFT drinks group Britvic has reported a strong third- quarter performance for its Irish operations, but has warned that it doesn’t necessarily illustrate improved market conditions here.

Britvic Ireland – which largely comprises the old soft drinks division of C&C Group, which the British company acquired three years ago – recorded like- for-like sales volume growth of 15% over the three months to the end of July.

While this was a significant outperforming of the wider market, which only grew combined sales volumes by 5.8% in comparison, in the year to date Britvic Ireland’s sales volumes are down by 1.5% on a year-on-year basis.

Similarly, while Britvic Ireland’s third quarter revenues were up 13.1% year-on-year, they are down by 6.6% in the year to date, again on a year-on-year basis.

The company was very frank in its summing-up of its latest quarterly performance, admitting that sales volumes were boosted by an earlier than usual Easter period and the implementation of its business transformation programme, which has seen the gradual winding-down of three of its regional distribution centres in the Republic and the cutting of around 145 jobs.

“The structural deflation of the Irish food and drink categories continues; the Irish soft drinks market remains volatile, with value declining in the Republic’s grocery soft drink market by 2.9% in the quarter and by 11.3% in the licensed on- trade market,” the company said yesterday as part of a wider group trading update.

It added that this information, coupled with “a relatively soft comparable quarter last year”, means that it “remains cautious that the latest performance is not indicative of a sustained turnaround in the soft drinks market”.

On a group-wide basis, Britvic saw a 9.6% year-on- year rise in sales volume.


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