Britvic seeks level playing field on new sugar tax

British soft drinks firm’s results driven by organic revenue growth in all markets

Britvic reported an 11.5 per cent rise in first-half revenue. Photograph:   Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Britvic reported an 11.5 per cent rise in first-half revenue. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

 

Soft drinks company Britvic has urged the Government to ensure its new sugar tax on fizzy drinks is applied to imported products as well as locally-produced drinks.

More than 70 per cent of soft drinks consumed in the Republic are imported and Britvic wants to ensure they are taxed in the same way as products made here.

“We have to make sure that the mechanism creates a level playing field and that all products that are liable to be taxed are taxed, where they are made inside the State or outside,” Kevin Donnelly, head of Britvic Ireland, told The Irish Times.

The new tax is due to come into effect in April 2018 with the Government likely to outline the details of it in the October budget. Mr Donnelly said it was “still to be determined at what point in the value chain” the tax would be levied. “Will it be on invoice? On point of dispatch? We believe it should be levied on point of first supply into the State, which would capture everything.”

Britvic owns the Club brand in Ireland and manufactures product here.

New tax

Mr Donnelly said drinks makers would also need sufficient time to implement the changes to their systems to take account of the new tax. “In the UK, the window is nearly a year while we might only get six months and that’s a concern.”

He was speaking following he publication of half-year results for Britvic Ireland, which showed strong revenue growth helped by increased sales of Ballygowan water and MiWadi.

Revenues for the 28 weeks ended 16th April rose by 27 per cent to £80.3 million. In euro terms, its revenue growth was 13.3 per cent. The company has had nine consecutive quarters of growth in Ireland, north and south.

A changing product mix and raw material price inflation saw brand margin contracting slightly by 80 basis points.

At group level, the Robinsons squash maker on Wednesday also named John Daly, senior independent director and chair of the remuneration committee, as chairman, effective September 1st. He will assume the role from Gerald Corbett.

Pre-exceptional earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation for the 28 weeks ended April 16th rose 6.7 per cent to £73.6 million (€85.5 million) on revenue of £756.3 million (€878.8 million), the company said in a statement.

Reuters