Merrydown pays 8m pounds for soft drinks

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MERRYDOWN Wine's push into adult soft drinks has been stepped up. The Shloer and PLJ brands are being bought for pounds 8.3m cash from SmithKline Beecham, writes John Shepherd.

Two other brands were acquired this year. They were Piermont, a mixture of sparkling spring water and apple or blackcurrant juice, and Sorelle, a herbal health drink.

Investors reacted favourably to the latest purchase, which comes complete with manufacturing, distribution and selling rights. Merrydown's shares improved by 23p to 248p.

Stock market sentiment was also helped by confirmation of the company's graduation from the Unlisted Securities Market to a full listing.

Shloer is a premium-priced sparkling fruit juice sold in apple, red grape, white grape and pear varieties, and PLJ is pure lemon juice.

The initial purchase payment is pounds 4.35m, which will be funded through a placing and open offer of shares on the basis of one for three at 205p each.