Fizzy drink fall keeps Britvic profits flat

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The British soft drinks manufacturer Britvic failed to increase its profits last year, as growing numbers of consumers turned their backs on fizzy drinks in favour of healthier alternatives.

Publishing its full-year results yesterday, the company unveiled profits of £73.7m, up just 0.5 per cent on the previous year.

The chief executive, Paul Moody, conceded that the company's Tango carbonated fruit drinks had come under particular pressure as consumers had switched to fruit juice drinks and flavoured mineral waters. However, he said conditions had improved in the second half of the year. Carbonated drinks revenues were down 4.7 per cent in the second half of the financial year, compared to 9 per cent in the first six months.

"The improved revenue trends seen in the second half have continued into the new financial year and have driven the group's trading performance over these early weeks," he said. "However, given the volatility in the carbonates market we remain cautious on the outlook for this category.Britvic is well placed to benefit from the continuing consumer trend towards health and well-being, and our new brand and product innovations remain focused on the growing stills category."

In spite of relatively flat profits, the group's earnings per share came in slightly ahead of expectations at 18.4p, sending the shares up around 1 per cent. However, analysts said this was mainly as a result of taxation changes and cost cuts.

Shares in the company closed up 2.75p at 234.5p, giving the company a market value of £507m. However, they are still down almost 5 per cent since the start of the year.