Nichols satisfied with results in 'challenging' year

Related tags Soft drinks Food and drink Drink Coffee

Nichols, the UK group behind Vimto soft drinks, has reported a
slight rise in turnover for 2002, a year of change for the company.

Nichols, the UK-based food and drink producer, has come through what it described as an exceptionally challenging year with a slight increase in turnover and pre-tax profits in line with expectations.

The company, which earlier this month announced​ a number of organisational changes designed to reduce its cost base, said that it was pleased with its sales of £96.2 million (€142m) in light of the conditions. It added that it was pleased with its pre-tax profits of £5.6 million, despite the slight decline from £6 million a year earlier.

The group​ has three principal operations: soft drinks (primarily involved in the manufacture and sale of soft drinks, including Vimto throughout the world and Sunkist in the UK), food Products and beverage systems (including Nichols Foods, the manufacturer and supplier to the vending, foodservice and retail markets, Balmoral, supplier of hot beverage systems and Cabana, soft drinks on draught), and co-packing (which includes Stockpack, the group's contract food packing operation).

In the soft drinks division, despite fierce competition, Vimto cordial continued to perform well both at home and overseas. In food products and beverage systems, sales growth was achieved in foodservice and retail hot beverages, and Cabana continued to strengthen its position in the leisure and catering markets, winning a number of significant new national accounts during the year, the company said.

The current year is likely to be another one of transition for Nichols, especially as a result of the proposed structural changes unveiled earlier this month. These changes - which include the closure of two plants as Vimto production is outsourced and the co-packing business is relocated to Nichols Foods - will generate cost savings in the longer term, they will also entail more charges this year."It is my belief that as a result of these significant changes, the group will end 2003 more focused and efficient and will be strongly positioned to grow future profits,"​ commented chairman John Nichols.

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