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AG Barr has announced that the former chief of Co-op, Saga and Superdry Euan Sutherland will become its new CEO.

The group announced in August last year that Roger White would step down from the board at the end of April 2024.

This morning it has said that Sutherland will become CEO on 1 May, with White remaining available until the end of July to support a smooth leadership transition.

It said Sutherland “has a wealth of consumer goods experience, having led major consumer-facing businesses through periods of significant growth, both in the UK and internationally”.

He was most recently group CEO of Saga, the UK’s specialist products and service provider for people aged 50 and over, having previously been CEO of Superdry, the Co-op Group and group COO of Kingfisher.

He also has a background in the fmcg industry, including roles at Mars and Coca-Cola, plus eight years on the board of Britvic as a non-executive director.

“It has been a great pleasure working with Roger, who has successfully led the business for over two decades and delivered significant value to shareholders, stakeholders and employees,” said Mark Allen, chair of AG Barr. “We wish him well in the future.

“On behalf of the board, I am delighted that Euan is joining AG Barr. He has substantial experience across several consumer-facing businesses and will be a strong addition. He is well placed to lead AG Barr through the next exciting phase of its development and to ensure the continued long-term success of the business.”

Sutherland added: “I am very excited to join AG Barr, which has a unique heritage, strong culture and exceptional brands. I look forward to working with the board and the wider business to continue to deliver significant value to shareholders, stakeholders and employees for the long term.”

Meanwhile, the group has announced “anticipated strong revenue and profit performance” in the full year ended 28 January 2024.

Revenue is expected to be around £400m, representing 26% year-on-year growth and 7.6% on a like-for-like basis, excluding the contribution from the Boost Drinks business acquired in December 2022.

Adjusted profit before tax is now expected to be c.£49.5m, up 13.8% on the prior year and slightly ahead of previous market expectations.

Despite the wet summer weather, which impacted Q3 market conditions, the group said that underlying brand momentum ensured a strong second-half performance.

In soft drinks, inflation in the wider soft drinks market continued to drive value growth but impacted volumes within the sector. However, our brand building and pricing strategy delivered both value and volume growth for the group.

Funkin cocktails saw a strong Q4, particularly in the off-trade through an excellent performance in the ready to drink segment. While the on-trade channel remains variable, with late-night venues experiencing reduced footfall, reports of improved festive trading for a range of hospitality venues is “encouraging” for 2024.

Moma Foods saw further double-digit sales growth, supported by new business wins, most notably within the speciality coffee channel.

Overall the group continues to experience cost inflation albeit at a less significant level than in the prior year. The supply chain capital investment programme to in-source the Boost and Rio brands is on track and the associated operational leverage and synergy benefits are supporting the acceleration of the group’s margin rebuild programme.

CEO Roger White said: “All our teams across the group have worked hard to deliver an excellent overall performance. This has been supported by continued brand investment, strong execution of our sales plans and progress across our supply chain improvement programme. We have positive momentum behind our brands and business as we enter the new financial year.

“This strong trading performance, coupled with the benefits already being delivered by our margin rebuild programme, has ensured we close the year with a strong profit performance and confidence in the group’s long-term growth strategy.”

Morning update

Food ingredients player MicroSalt has completed its listing on London’s AIM market, with its shares going live this morning.

The group, which has patented technology to produce full-flavour, low-sodium salt for food manufacturers and consumers, floats with a market capitalisation of approximately £18.5m and has raised £3.1m as part of the process.

The net proceeds of the fundraise will principally be used to support the ongoing development of the company, sales and marketing of MicroSalt’s applications with existing and potential customers, for R&D for fmcg companies product line extensions and general working capital purposes including increased headcount.

The company’s board believes the fundraising will provide the group with the capital required to support its growth strategy and to capitalise on its pipeline of commercial opportunities with existing and potential customers.

Furthermore, it said, admission to AIM will enhance MicroSalt’s corporate profile.

Rick Guiney, CEO of MicroSalt, said: “We are delighted to announce our successful fundraise and admission to AIM, which is an important step in our development and provides an excellent platform for growth.

“The World Health Organization has stated ambitions to reduce sodium intake by 30% by 2025, and MicroSalt is extremely well placed to capitalise upon rising demand for lower sodium products with our disruptive, proprietary product and manufacturing process.”

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 closed down 0.5% at 7,630.5pts yesterday.

Risers included Bakkavor, up 2.1% to 96p, Kerry Group, up 2.1% to €82.75, AG Barr, up 1.4% to 658p, McBride, up 1.4% to 71p, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, up 0.8% to 64.3p and Cranswick, up 0.8% to 4,024p.

Fallers include Naked Wines, down 5.5% to 65.2p, Pets at Home, down 4.5% to 280.2p, THG, down 3.8% to 66.3p, Just Eat, down 3.4% to 1,201p, Marks & Spencer, down 2.9% to 247.3p and Fever-Tree, down 2.5% to 1,010p.