Britvic to cut costs as sales in decline

International soft drinks producer Britvic has hinted at further cost reduction measures at its operations in Ireland over the coming 18 months, on the back of further sales declines.

The British drinks group — which has struggled in Ireland since acquiring the soft drinks arm of C&C in 2007 — produced a mixed- bag of first half financial results yesterday.

On a group-wide basis, revenues for the 28 weeks to April 15 increased by 1.3% to £641.1m (€800.1m); but pre-tax profits fell by 10.5%, year-on-year, to £24.8m.

First half revenue in its British operations grew by 2.4% and was up 13% in its international division.

However, in Ireland it was a different story — with revenue falling by 11.2% to £72.7m.

“While volumes in Ireland increased slightly, average realised price on our own brands was down by 7.5% and of the total revenue decline, around half of the reduction is coming from the factored brands which we sell through our Irish wholesaling business. Consequently, both revenue and brand contribution declined by double digit,” the company said.

Britvic said it has begun implementing a “multi-year” programme of initiatives in the Irish business, “which will run into at least late 2013”, in a drive to save costs.

The firm has cut 50 jobs from its Irish workforce in the last six months; on top of the 300 or so losses measured since its restructuring between 2009 and 2011.

It is not clear if further job losses are pending, but the company has reached agreement on solutions to its Irish pension deficit and future pension provisions for its operations here.


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