Pepsi Max

Pepsi Max was a standout performer in Britvic’s domestic GB market

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Britvic has held on to customers despite higher prices, with the soft drinks firm blaming a wet and windy summer for a modest annual volume decline.

The group increased its average price per litre by 9.1% in the year ended 2023 - and by 10.6% in Great Britain - to cope with inflationary pressures. It helped revenues rise 6.6% to £1.7bn.

Volumes fell 2.2% over the year overall and by 2.3% in Great Britain. Britvic said volumes in its domestic market had been “resilient” despite the price hikes for most of the year - growing in the second and third quarters - but had suffered in the final three months of the financial year in comparision with a strong end to 2021/22 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 continued to drag on the group’s performance.

CEO Simon Litherland said Britvic had “delivered another set of excellent results” and was confident the group would continue to “make excellent progress next year and beyond”.

“We have demonstrated that our portfolio of trusted brands has been able to take and hold significant price, with very limited volume impact,” he added.

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.

Shares in the group nudged up 0.8% to 846p this morning.

Morning update

The FTSE 100 got off to a positive start ahead of today’s Autumn Statement, rising 0.2% to 7,493.23pts.

Early food and drink risers included PZ Cussons, up 3.8% to 142.2p, Glanbia, up 3.8% to €15.46, and Naked Wines, up 2.6% to 41p.

Science in Sport is down 2% to 12p, while Bakkavor slipped 0.9% to 84.2p, Hotel Chocolat is down 0.5% to 366p and Pets at Home is 0.3% lower at 293p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 edged down 0.2% to 7,481.99pts yesterday.

Shares in Cranswick increased 2.6% to 3,740p as investors approved of resilient UK volume growth in the first half as the meat processor improved sales and profits.

Other risers included Coca-Cola HBC, up 4.4% to 2,181.7p, Greencore, up 2.2% to 98.9p, and Naked Wines, up 1% to 39.4p.

HelloFresh and Ocado led the fallers, down 8.1% to €14.89 and 5% to 566.2p respectively.