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Fizzy drinks sales drive record profits at can firm

By Peter Cripps

Published 24/02/2011

The world's biggest drinks can maker said strong growth in sales of fizzy drinks in the UK helped it to post record profits.

Rexam, which makes cans for brands such as Pepsi, Carlsberg and Red Bull, said high levels of promotions of multipacks of soft drinks boosted its sales of cans in the UK in 2010.

Sales of beverage cans in Europe and Asia returned to growth in 2010, with volumes up 5%, following a poor year in 2009 when the turmoil in the global economy reduced demand.

The strong performance of the beverage can division and cost savings contributed to a 45% increase in underlying profits to a record £412m.

Sales in its plastic packaging division were broadly flat.

The FTSE 100 Index company plans to sell a division that makes container lids as part of its ongoing drive for efficiency savings. Total sales were up 2% to £5bn in the year and Rexam believes it can increase the rate of growth by targeting emerging markets, such as South America.

The company, which employs 23,000 people in more than 20 countries, said 2010 had been "an excellent year" and expects to make continued progress in 2011.

Rexam's profits were £7m ahead of the City's expectations of £405m. But shares were down 3% after rising by 20% since December in anticipation of a strong performance.

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