Strong international growth helped soft drinks group Nichols, the company behind Vimto and Panda, report a 13.3% increase in full-year pre-tax profit to £9m on sales up 5.7% at £55.3m.

Revenue in its soft drinks division rose 4.5% to £41.7m in the year to 31 December and operating profit rose 7.1% to £8.3m. However, most of this growth came from Middle East and African markets because of poor summer weather and deep promotional activity in the UK.

Panda continued to grow its share of the stills and water categories but carbonates suffered because of a general trend towards non-fizzy drinks, said non-executive chairman John Nichols.