The Robinsons squash maker grew full year sales by 6.6% to £1.75bn in the year to 30 September

Britvic has held on to customers despite higher prices and a wet and windy British summer, but investors sent the soft drinks player’s shares down on its sliding margins.

The Robinsons squash maker grew full year sales by 6.6% to £1.75bn in the year to 30 September. Average price per litre jumped 9.1%, and by 10.6% in Great Britain, to mitigate inflationary pressures.

Sales volumes fell 2.2% over the year overall and by 2.3% in Great Britain, which Britvic said was a “resilient” performance. It noted volumes had been in growth in the second and third quarters of its year, but suffered in the final three months of the financial year as trading during a damp July and August struggled to match the previous hot summer.

Sales in Great Britain increased 7.9% year on year to £1.2bn, with a standout performance from Pepsi Max and Tango. J2O, Fruit Shoot and Lipton also enjoyed “strong growth” and there was “significant acceleration” in London Essence, Plenish and Aqua Libra, while “strong” growth at Robinsons tapered off in the fourth quarter and Rockstar dragged on the group’s performance.

Revenues in Brazil were up 9.2% to £156.2m on a modest 0.9% volume decline, while its other international revenues rose 7.9% on a 2.7% drop in volumes.

Adjusted EBIT for the year increased 5.9% to £218.4m but margins were squeezed, falling 10 basis points to 12.5%.

Pre-tax profits fell 10.5% to £156.8m, mostly driven by one-off charges of £36.9m, with £20.5m related to a settlement with the trustees of the pension scheme, £5.2m to restructuring costs in Ireland and £2.4m of M&A costs associated with the acquisition of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee and an energy brand in Brazil.

Britvic shares fell back 0.6% on the news to 834p and are down 8% over the past six months.

Barclays said: “Despite fourth quarter weakness, we believe these results bode well for 2024… With the company facing a number of favourable comparisons across its markets in addition to the integration of exciting M&A deals, particularly in Brazil, we think Britvic can sustainably step up growth.”

Analysts at Jefferies noted: “Whilst we are mindful of the risk of changing consumer purchasing patterns in a weaker macro environment, we would view soft drinks as relatively resilient in the core GB market. We see Britvic better placed to deliver on its growth agenda relative to history given an improving growth profile and stronger capabilities.”

Despite a share price dip since May, Britvic remains up 8.4% so far in 2023.