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J2O and Robinsons maker Britvic buoyed by hot summer

Soft drinks giant Britvic has revealed a jump in sales and profits as it benefited from the easing of pandemic restrictions and the recent hot summer weather.

The Robinsons and J2O maker said revenues grew by 15.5% to £1.62 billion over the year to September 30, compared with the previous year, amid increases in both price and sales volumes.

As a result, the firm saw pre-tax profits jump by 45.3% to £140.2 million for the year.

The company said strong growth was “in part due to the soft comparable in the first half of 2021 when lockdown restrictions impacted the hospitality channel and the good weather this summer”.

It therefore saw an improvement in hospitality as well as better retail sales.

Britvic told shareholders that Pepsi, 7UP and Tango saw double-digit sales growth over the year, led by low and no sugar products.

Elsewhere, J2O and Fruit Shoot sales increased by 32.3% and 15.1% respectively as they benefited from increased socialising compared with the previous year.

However, Britvic highlighted a “challenging” year for the Rockstar energy drink brand, which “continued to underperform” despite the company resolving supply chain issues from last year.

Bosses said the uncertain economic backdrop makes it “difficult to forecast consumer demand” in the short term.

With high inflation predicted for 2023, the company said it will continue to seek to mitigate any impact through cost efficiency work to boost its pricing and promotions.

Chief executive Simon Litherland said: “We have delivered excellent results, with strong growth in volume, revenue and profit, in the face of significant headwinds.

“Our strategy has momentum, delivering accelerated top-line growth through consistent execution across our portfolio of trusted brands.

“We recognise that there are significant inflationary pressures on our consumers, customers and suppliers, and we remain focused on mitigating costs in a responsible manner through efficiency initiatives and revenue management while continuing to invest in our brands, people, sustainability and infrastructure.”

Emma Letheren, equity analyst at RBC, said: “A nice set of results from Britvic given the ongoing supply chain and inflationary issues facing it.

“As well as beating expectations sizeably in organic revenue growth, volumes remained positive – our concerns about its categories lacking resilience are fading.”

Shares in the company were up 3.5% at 796p in early trading.