Britvic drinks to sales success

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Soft drinks market, Soft drink

Britvic has published revenue growth of 5.6 per cent for 2009 prompting some analysts to suggest that the soft drinks business is in a position to expand more aggressively.

In a recessionary year, Britvic has achieved growth rates that are more typically associated with the good times.

Supported by the popularity of brands like J20 and Robinsons, the British company posted double-digit profit growth and a 5.6 per cent increase in group revenues to £978m.

Market share

CEO Paul Moody said: “Over the past year our brands have grown market share across all key categories and our portfolio has been strengthened by successful innovation.”

The only blip on the radar last year was Ireland where the depth of the recession contributed to a 5.6 per cent dip in sales to £189.5m. Britvic has responded to the decline in Ireland by announcing “right-sizing”​ measures that should create cumulative savings of €27m by the end of 2011.

But elsewhere in the business there is no indication that any right-sizing measures would mean down-sizing. With GB and International revenue up 8.7 per cent on 2008, Britvic may be well placed to pursue a more aggressive expansion strategy.

Value creation

“We see considerable scope for value creation through either geographic expansion into other Pepsi franchises or acquiring other brands,”​ said Nomura analyst Ian Shackleton.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Cook of RBS, said Britvic has “continued momentum, increased medium term growth guidance, and M&A opportunities”,​ having once again outperformed both the soft drinks market and consensus expectations.

Despite the strength of its recent numbers Britvic remains cautious about the future.

Moody said: “Recent conditions in the GB soft drink market have shown some signs of improvement, although visibility in both GB and Ireland beyond the short term remains limited and we take a cautious view of consumer spending.”

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