Britvic improves position in Irish market helped by MiWadi and Ballygowan

Sugar tax and shortage of CO2 takes some fizz out of Britvic results

MiWadi and Ballygowan owner Britvic improved volume sales in the Irish market by 2.2 per cent as its two key brands generated "strong revenue growth".

The company, which also distributes brands including Pepsi, 7Up and Lipton Ice Tea in the UK and Ireland, said its portfolio of low and no sugar brands delivered another strong financial performance in Ireland despite a shortage of CO2 and the introduction of a sugar tax.

“Successful revenue management and positive pack mix has resulted in robust price realisation and has also driven excellent market value share growth, led by our squash brands and Ballygowan water,” the company said, announcing preliminary results for the year to the end of September.

Additionally, acquisition of a wholesale business on the east coast allowed the company accelerate the distribution of its brands in the “Dublin on-trade sector”.


Revenue increased

The British drinks maker said revenue increased 5.1 per cent to £1.5 billion while earnings improved 5.4 per cent to £206 million.

"Despite some challenges faced during the year, Britvic has reported an encouraging outturn in its full year results this morning," said Goodbody analyst Patrick Higgins, adding that the stockbroker is retaining its positive stance on the stock.

"We have delivered a strong performance in a challenging environment, with good revenue, margin and earnings growth," said chief executive Simon Litherland.

“In 2019 we have exciting plans for our portfolio of leading brands across our markets. Whilst political and economic uncertainty will undoubtedly continue, we are confident we will continue our long-term track record of growing earnings, dividends and shareholder value.”

Britvic's France operation was challenging it said, as the soft drinks market declined while poor weather negatively affected the syrups category. In the UK, the company grew share although its performance was disrupted by the CO2 shortage in western Europe in the second half of the year.

Britvic recommended a final dividend of 20.3 pence per share, an increase of 5.2 per cent on last year’s dividend.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business