Belfast Telegraph

Britvic profits hit by higher costs

The group behind Robinsons squash said pre-tax profits fell 9% to £139 million in the 52 weeks to October.

Soft drinks giant Britvic has seen full-year profits tumble after it was stung by costs related to an efficiency drive.

The group, which is behind Robinsons squash, said pre-tax profits fell 9% to £139 million in the 52 weeks to October.

Profits were dragged down by Britvic’s three-year “business capability programme”, which cost £24.7 million in the period.

As part of the cost-cutting drive, Britvic plans to close its Norwich production plant and move to sites in east London, Leeds and Rugby.

Under the plans, the Norwich site will close towards the end of 2019.

However, revenues for the full year rose 8% to £1.54 billion as the firm said it sold more than 2.3 billion litres of soft drinks in the year, an increase of 1.2%.

Shares rose more than 7% in morning trading to 819p as investors focused on the 5.1% rise in adjusted earnings to £195.5 million.

But the group also warned over uncertainty linked to the Government levy on sugary drinks, set to come in next year.

Chief executive Simon Litherland said: “While April 2018 brings uncertainty with the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy in GB and Ireland, we are well placed to navigate it thanks to the strength and breadth of our brand portfolio and our exciting marketing and innovation plans.”

Britvic added that it healthier products, such as Purdey’s, are “resonating with consumers”, increasing retail value by 55%.

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