International soft drinks maker Britvic has said recent trading has been “particularly challenging” in Ireland, where it owns popular brands such as Ballygowan, MiWadi and Club Orange.
The group — also known for its Robinsons, Fruit Shoot, and Tango brands — posted first-half revenues of £617.1m (€717m) for the six months to the end of March, representing a year-on-year decline of 6.3%. Post-tax profits fell by nearly 15% to £33.2m.
Overall, Britvic said it delivered a “robust” first-half performance in “challenging circumstances”.
Revenue in its core British market fell by only 4.8%, while it saw a 15% sales increase in its other key market of Brazil.
However, revenues across the rest of the world — which comprises Britvic’s operations in Ireland, France, and its international distribution network — tumbled 16%.
Ireland was significantly hit given that Covid restrictions had such a negative impact on operations. As much as 45% of Britvic’s sales volumes in Ireland come from its out-of-home channels — with pubs, bars, hotels, and office water cooler systems all large revenue earners.
“Performance in Ireland was particularly challenging, where lockdown restrictions have heavily impacted the pub sector, and limitations on local travel have resulted in lower on-the-go sales,” Britvic said.
Earlier this year, Britvic closed its Counterpoint wholesale business in Ireland in favour of direct distribution deals for its core products in a bid to improve profitability here.
Overall, Britvic’s shares rose on the back of the first-half figures — largely due to the group beating expectations on revenue and pre-tax earnings; reinstating its shareholder dividend, and saying early second-half performance has been “encouraging” as some markets, particularly the UK, begin to emerge from lockdown.