Barr strengthened by Irn-Bru growth

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The Independent Online

Irn-Bru maker A G Barr reported a 19 per cent jump in profits yesterday as consumers in England and Wales got a taste for "Scotland's other national drink".

The company, which also makes St Clements and Rubicon drinks, said it outperformed the market as revenues rose 14 per cent to £119m and underlying profits hit £16m in the six months to 31 July.

It said Irn-Bru maintained its recent growth rate, with revenues up 8 per cent in the period, after it increased levels of distribution in England and Wales and ramped up marketing at a consumer and trade level across the UK. The strongest brand performance came from Rubicon after its profile was boosted by a deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board to sponsor the Friends Provident t20 county competition.

Rubicon sales grew 37 per cent on a like-for-like basis in the period but Barr said this was unlikely to be maintained due to tougher year-on-year comparatives. It also anticipates some pricing pressures in the second half as exotic fruit pulp costs have risen sharply.

Barr, which has produced Irn-Bru to a secret recipe for more than 130 years, said the excellent weather buoyed the market in the early summer but that the company was entering a tougher period.

However, it added: "Trading in the first few weeks of the second half has continued to give us confidence that we will meet our full year expectations."