Vimto group toasts £5.5m deal for Panda Pops maker

The family-owned brewery that concocted the "deadly looking" Panda Pops children's drinks brand pocketed £5.5m in cash yesterday when it sold the business to Nichols, the owner of Vimto.

The family-owned brewery that concocted the "deadly looking" Panda Pops children's drinks brand pocketed £5.5m in cash yesterday when it sold the business to Nichols, the owner of Vimto.

The fifth generation of the Woodhouse family, who controls the Dorset-based brewer, Hall & Woodhouse, will share the proceeds from the disposal. The brand was put up for sale after the brewer decided to focus on running its pub estate and brewing its Badger ales.

John Nichols, the chairman of Nichols, said Panda would "bring scale" to its existing portfolio, which includes the UK rights to Sunkist.

He defended the range of soft drinks, which comprises such flavours as Blue Raspberryade. "They might look incredibly bad but they are perfectly safe," he said. He conceded that "if you drink 20 of them in one go you might see a reaction" but added: "For kids, the brighter the colour, the better the drink. The colours are nothing like as strong as they used to be."

Children's health experts warn that letting children consume drinks or food that are packed with synthetic colourings or flavour enhancers can cause hyperactivity. The Children's Food Advisory Service recommends parents steer clear of "suspect food additives".

Panda Pops, which are sold in lunchbox-sized plastic bottles at "pocket money" prices, were invented 30 years ago by Hall & Woodhouse. The brewer, founded in 1777, decided last year to stop making the drink, opting instead to outsource their manufacturing. It is selling the brand and its registered trademarks to Nichols, rather than any assets. In addition to the fizzy drinks range, Panda includes a range of sugar-free, fruit-flavoured still drinks and flavoured waters. It also sells Panda Clear, pure spring water.

Mr Nichols said he expected most of the brand's growth to come from the non-fizzy drinks ranges. He said Panda, which has annual sales of about £11.5m, was profitable. Hall & Woodhouse accounted for the brand within its total business, which made profits before tax of £7m last year, up from £5m, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Nichols sold its food manufacturing divisions 14 months ago or £11.6m in cash to focus on growing its soft drinks business.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy