Britvic pays €237m for French soft drinks group

Britvic is to buy the French soft drinks maker Fruite for €237m (£203m) as it looks to expand across Europe. The Tango and Robinsons giant unveiled the deal yesterday alongside a 39 per cent jump in pre-tax profits to £27.8m for the six months to 11 April.

Britvic said the acquisition would give it a foothold in the £11bn French soft drinks market, in which Fruite claims to be the leading independent company, while also acting as a platform for growth across Western Europe.

Fruite's range includes the dilutable syrup brands Teisseire and Moulin de Valdonne and the pure juice specialist Pressade.

Britvic yesterday raised £94m through an equity placing at 430p a share to help fund the deal. Its shares closed up 4 per cent at 458p.

The proposed takeover comes as Britvic hailed a "return to robust growth" in the second half so far amid signs of modest improvements across all markets, while the struggling Britvic Ireland arm scraped back into profit in the first six months.