Shop and pub demand helps Britvic's Irish sales rise 2.1pc
SOFT drinks group Britvic, which owns Ballygowan here, pushed up sales in Ireland by 2.1pc at the end of last year as demand in pubs and shops grew.
The firm reported a 1.3pc rise in quarterly revenue and stood by its full-year profit target of up to £150m (€181m).
But while sales rose by 4.7pc in France and 5.6pc internationally, figures showed smaller increases of just 1.5pc in Britain and 2.1pc here.
Britvic said conditions remained difficult in Ireland but sales in pubs and shops are rising.
It recently launched Counterpoint, its licensed wholesale business, which supplies the pub and club channel.
Chief executive Simon Litherland said the company delivered a robust performance in the quarter in each of its core markets despite a challenging consumer environment.
"We continued to make good progress implementing our new strategy and remain on track to deliver our cost reduction initiatives as planned this year," he said.
Mr Litherland said trading in the first few weeks of this year was also ahead of figures recorded in early 2013.
"We remain confident that EBIT this year will be within the range of £148m to £156m, which we communicated at our preliminary results in November," he added.
Britvic posted an 18.8pc rise in annual operating profit last November.
It is one of the leading branded soft drinks businesses in Europe, supplying Ballygowan, Tango, J2O, Fruit Shoot, MiWadi, Pepsi and 7UP.
It employs over 500 staff on the island and has operations in Limerick and a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Kylemore Road in Dublin, which produces Club and MiWadi for the local Irish market and Fruit Shoot concentrate for export.