Saturday 18 November 2017

Britvic shares lose fizz as Irish sales fall 5.5pc

Andy Murray was this year's Wimbledon champion. Sponsor Britvic is struggling
Andy Murray was this year's Wimbledon champion. Sponsor Britvic is struggling
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

SHARES in Britvic, which also counts long-time Wimbledon sponsor Robinsons among its stable of brands, fell yesterday after the company said its Irish business continued to lose revenue.

In an interim management statement, the owner of Club soft drinks and Ballygowan water said turnover in its Irish division fell 5.5pc between April and June compared to the same period last year.

The company blamed "the continued decline of the third-party brands in the licensed wholesale business".

"Our own brands' revenue was up, driven by strong average retail price growth of 3pc, which more than offset a volume decline of 2.5pc, outperforming a difficult Irish soft drinks market.

"The take-home soft drinks market was down by 4.5pc in volume and down 3.3pc in value during the last 12 weeks," Britvic said, citing data from analytics firm Neilsen.

Britvic spurned a takeover approach from Scotland's AG Barr last week after starting a radical internal restructuring.


The business is laying off about 14pc of its UK staff, closing some of its operations there, and shifting production to its facility on the Kylemore Road in Dublin, where it has spare capacity.

The drink maker's Irish subsidiary was the only one to post lower revenues in its third-quarter results, with overall group revenues rising by 5.4pc during the period.

Britvic said Irish revenue from its own brands was up, driven by a 3pc increase in average prices; however, the performance of the third-party brands it sells under licence was down. In Ireland, sales dipped to €33m.

Company chief executive Simon Litherland admitted the last three months had been difficult but the firm had "retained its focus on building brand value with a stronger marketing programme, which included our annual Robinsons Wimbledon campaign and Pepsi's sponsorship of Beyonce. As a result we have driven an increase in average realised price and grown revenue by 4pc."

Shares in the company fell almost 2pc in early trading but by the time stumps were drawn last night the stock had recovered to 522 pence – flat on the session.

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