Belfast Telegraph

Britvic profits fall on Norwich factory closure costs

Figures were dragged down by £21.6 million of costs.

Soft drinks giant Britvic has seen half-year profits tumble after it was stung by costs related to a factory closure in Norwich.

The group, which is behind Robinsons squash, saw pre-tax profit fall from £50.1 million to £41.8 million in the six months to April 15.

Figures were dragged down by £21.6 million of “business capability programme costs” linked to the closure of Britvic’s Norwich production plant, which is moving to sites in east London, Leeds and Rugby.

Britvic was forced to stomach employee costs and asset impairments in relation to the Norfolk site.

However, revenues at the drinks firm fizzed up 4.5% to £733 million in the six months to April 15 as it was boosted by sales of Robinsons and Pepsi.

Chief executive Simon Litherland said: “We have delivered a strong first-half performance with solid revenue, margin and earnings growth. We have also made good progress in innovating to meet consumer needs, growing our international presence and transforming our supply chain.”

While the reporting period excludes the impact of the Government levy on sugary drinks, which came into affect on May 1, Mr Litherland added that the market response has been as expected.

“While it is too soon to guide on the ongoing consumer impact of the soft drinks levy, early indications of the competitor and customer response are broadly as we anticipated,” he said.

Shares were up 7% in afternoon trade.

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