First half profits fizz at Britvic

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The producer of Robinsons squash and Tango, Britvic, posted a 6.4 per cent rise in first-half profit, underpinned by cost savings, and stuck to its full-year guidance despite expectations for continued tough trading in its second half.

The firm, which also makes Fruit Shoot and PepsiCo brands Pepsi and 7UP, said operating profit for the 28 weeks to April 12 had risen to £63.2m, ahead of a forecast of £61.4m.

Hindered by a price war among UK supermarkets and deflation in the sector, first-half revenue fell 0.7 per cent to £650.3m, with volumes and average prices both down.

To help boost sales Britvic has stepped up marketing and introduced new products and ranges to its key brands such as Robinsons and is also expanding overseas.

The firm operates mainly in Britain, Ireland and France but has started to expand into the United States, Spain and India with its children’s Fruit Shoot brand. Having rolled out single serve Fruit Shoot packages it said its move into the bigger U.S take-home market would come in 2016 rather than 2015.

Britvic, which has a bottling plant in Leeds employing around 150 people, said that while it expected challenging trading conditions to persist it remained on track to post a 2015 operating profit of between £164m and £173m, up from £158m in 2014.