Business Irish

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Vit Hit's Lavin takes on Australia as 6,000 stores to stock low-cal drink

 

Vit Hit founder Gary Lavin is planning to relocate to Australia for at least four months and aims to use Australia to launch across the South Pacific in 2019.
Vit Hit founder Gary Lavin is planning to relocate to Australia for at least four months and aims to use Australia to launch across the South Pacific in 2019.

Fearghal O'Connor

Low-calorie vitamin drink manufacturer Vit Hit is moving into the Australian market with plans to establish production Down Under.

The company will begin selling its range of flavoured drinks in 6,000 Australian stores in July a move that sources close to the company described as "a very significant step".

Vit Hit founder Gary Lavin is planning to relocate to Australia for at least four months and aims to use Australia to launch across the South Pacific in 2019.

The company is also planning to launch in 2,000 stores in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates in May, including a deal that will see it on sale in the huge Dubai Duty Free shop. The following month the company is planning to launch its range of drinks in 1,200 stores in Sweden.

The drink, which is a low-calorie blend of teas, juices, water and vitamins in a range of flavours, has undergone major international expansion over the past 12 months after winning a string of major distribution deals as far afield as Finland, South Africa and the US.

Lavin - a former professional rugby player who founded the manufacturer five years ago - has previously said that turnover this year will rise from €8m to €12m on the back of the expansion.

The company is also expecting a boost in Ireland in the coming months with the implementation next month of Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe's new sugar tax. This is expected to take the fizz out of many soft-drinks makers, but Vit Hit - with 1.3 grammes of sugar per 100 ml - will be exempt from the new tax.

A tax of 30 cent a litre on drinks with over eight grammes of sugar per 100 ml will be introduced.

The company has said that sales could benefit from the new tax just as they have in other markets where a sugar tax had been introduced. Vit Hit had been selling in the UK for five years before a sugar tax was introduced, which the company said had led to a big upsurge in interest from distributors. Last year it struck a deal with WH Smith to make Vit Hit available at 15 UK airports.

Vit Hit said last year that by 2019 it could target sales of 60 million bottles, many multiples of the 96,000 bottles it sold when it launched in 2007.

Last summer, the company signed a major new US distribution deal with the New Jersey-based Honickman Group - which distributes Canada Dry - that it said at the time could be worth $20m over two years.

Sunday Indo Business

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