Britvic bolstered by at-home beverages during COVID crisis

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Sales of Robinsons have helped bolster Britivc's fortunes during the COVID crisis
Sales of Robinsons have helped bolster Britivc's fortunes during the COVID crisis

Related tags Drinks Finance coronavirus

Beverages manufacturer Britvic has balanced the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the almost complete shutdown of the hospitality and foodservice sectors with strong at-home sales, according to its latest financial results.

While the loss of the out-of-home market and on-the-go consumption has dealt a blow to the producer, pack-at-home consumption has helped to keep the business afloat, with sales of its Robinsons brand up 24.9% compared with the same period last year.

Britvic also reported an increased value share in its key markets of GB, Ireland and Brazil, with the strong performance driven by local favourite brands Robinsons, MiWadi, Maguary, Pepsi, Tango and 7UP.

Amended reporting period

The manufacturer elected to amend its reporting period, with its latest interim results reflecting two weeks less trading compared with 2019 – the six months ended 31 March 2020, as opposed to the 28 weeks ended 12 April 2019.

As such, these latest results do not account for the majority of the lockdown experienced as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, which was officially announced on 23 March. Given the uncertain environment, its expected £12m-£18m monthly impact of COVID-19 remained unchanged from its previous report.

Britvic reported a 1.4% increase in sales to £698.8m and a 9.4% rise in adjusted earnings before interest and tax to £75.7m – adjusted for constant currency and restatement of the prior year to 31 March 2019.

Commenting on the results, chief executive Simon Litherland said: “The world is a very different place from the one it was a few months ago and I am proud and humbled by the resilience and dedication shown by the entire Britvic team.

‘Strong momentum’ during lockdown

“We entered the COVID-19 crisis with strong momentum, having delivered a robust first-half performance, which continues our track record of consistent delivery since 2013. While these times are clearly unparalleled, soft drinks has proven itself to be a resilient category time and time again.”

Britvic is to defer the decision on the payment of the dividend until later in the financial year, when the impact of COVID-19 on the business will be clearer.

Meanwhile, last month, soft drinks supplier A G Barr, which has brands including Irn-Bru and Rubicon, has revealed it has seen a “significant impact” in out-of-home consumption​ following the Government lockdown.

It revealed that sales via its “impulse” customers (c.40% of total revenue) had fallen markedly as a result.

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