Drinks firm Britvic eyes US expansion as it sees profits rise almost 20pc
Soft drinks group Britvic posted an 18.8pc rise in annual operating profit and said it would further expand its Fruit Shoot brand in the US.
Britvic employs over 500 staff in Ireland and has operations in Dublin and Limerick. It produces brands such as Club and MiWadi for the local Irish market and produces Fruit Shoot concentrate for export markets.
The maker of Robinsons squash and Tango said on Tuesday operating profit in the year to Sept. 29 was £135m, up from £112.7m a year ago and in line with company guidance.
Revenue rose 4.4pc to £1.32bn, helped by a strong fourth quarter when a hot summer and the recovery of its Fruit Shoot brand after last year's recall boosted trade. Its operating margin rose 120 basis points to 10.4pc.
Having rejected an improved proposal from Irn-Bru maker A.G. Barr for an all-share merger in July, Britvic has ramped up its expansion in the U.S., moved into Spain and will launch Fruit Shoot in India in mid-2014 to help grow its business.
On Tuesday the firm said it had signed a new 15-year bottling agreement with PepsiCo Americas Beverages for further manufacturing and distribution in the U.S., which will see Fruit Shoot rolled out to 41 states during 2014, up from 32.
The firm has also outlined a cost cutting drive, which it said was on track to deliver £30m of cost savings per annum by 2016.
Britvic said trading in the new financial year had started ahead of its first quarter a year ago, and added that it was confident of delivering operating profit of between £148m and £156m for the new fiscal year.