Belfast Telegraph

Irn-Bru owner's profits in sparkling form

By Holly Williams

Irn-bru maker AG Barr reported a 13% leap in annual profits after a sparkling performance in the UK soft drinks market.

The Cumbernauld-based business - which also makes St Clements, Tizer and Rubicon fruit drinks -said like-for-like sales rose by more than 10% for the second year running, helping it deliver pre-tax profits of £31.6m in the year to January 29.

But AG Barr said the industry faced challenges over the year ahead, with soaring input costs and consumer caution adding to tough sales comparatives.

AG Barr said it outperformed a "buoyant" soft drinks market by focusing on its core brands, Irn-Bru and Rubicon.

While Scotland remains the historical heartland for Irn-Bru sales, AG Barr made further progress in increasing demand elsewhere across the UK.

It said sales in the north of England rose 10% thanks to marketing and sponsorship efforts, specifically surrounding rugby league. Total Irn-Bru sales rose 4%, according to the group.

An ongoing association with cricket and new launches helped Rubicon sales soar 22.5% in the year.

The group said sales of Rubicon have now nearly doubled since it bought the brand in August 2008.