Profits at Vimto maker Nichols climbed by 20% during the first half of the year – despite the rising cost of raw materials.

The soft drinks firm said sales over the six months to 30 June were up 14% to £50.5m, while profits climbed by a fifth to £7.2m.

UK sales rose by 11%, compared with average growth across the soft drinks sector as a whole of just 1%. Elsewhere, international sales grew by 13% in the first half of the year, with sales to the Middle East up 11% and sales to Africa rising by 14%.

The business, which also counts Sunkist and Panda among its brands, launched its Levi Roots range of Caribbean soft drinks in April and reported that sales of the new range were in line with expectations.

“I am delighted to be announcing such excellent results, strongly ahead of last year’s outstanding performance,” said chairman John Nichols.

“We have again grown our UK market share and our international business continues to thrive. We expect full year profits will be significantly ahead of last year.”

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Acid Test: Levi Roots Caribbean Crush (21 May 2011)
Vimto gets a revamp as Nichols claims flying start to 2011 (4 May 2011)