Vimto producer Nichols has posted a double-digit rise in group revenues as it brushed off the cooler UK weather to post growth across its stills and carbonates portfolio.

Total group revenues in the half year to 30 June rose 10.2% to £71.6m.

In the UK, revenue increased by 6.2% to £57.1m as sales of Vimto grew by 4%, against “very strong” prior year comparatives.

The growth was primarily driven by price growth as volumes remained essentially flat year on year.

Also in the UK out-of-home sales jumped by 11.8% to £21.5m after the acquisition of OOH specialist Adrian Mecklenburgh Ltd in February 2019.

Group commercial director Andrew Milne said the company had, like other soft drinks manufacturers, been affected by the poor weather to start summer compared to last year’s soaring temperatures.

He said that the soft drinks market had slowed from 8% growth at the end of 2018 to around 4% in the first six months of 2019.

However, Nichols had been able to mitigate this market slowdown through its diversified model, brand loyalty to Vimto and new business wins in the first half, including winning the slush drinks business with cinema chain Cineworld.

The company also benefitted from a strong increase in international revenues, which rose to £14.5m in the period compared to £11.2m in the prior year. Sales to the Middle East were in line with expectations at £4.6m, while sales to Africa grew by 12.6% to £7.6m driven by strong execution in its core markets.

Overall, revenue from Still products was up by 11.6% to £33.9m driven by Vimto dilute in the UK and Vimto concentrate sales to the Middle East.

Sales of carbonates products grew by 8.4% to £37.7m as a result of good performance in Africa performance and out of home growth.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 9.7% to £15.3m.

However, pre-tax profits were up just 2% to £13.3m as it invested in infrastructure in the period to support trading growth, while it also incurred additional costs from adverse forex movements.

Broker N+1 Singer said the group has “navigated a tricky first half” to report a “pleasing” set of interims results.

“Looking forward, whilst the UK market is expected to remain challenging, Nichols is geographically well diversified and has good momentum in its Out of Home business to support future growth.”

Milne said the continued development of the Vimto brand will remain the company’s “major focus”, as well as growth opportunities for newer portfolio brands Vimto Remix, currently growing at 30% year-on-year, and VIM20 flavoured water.

The company’s shares edged up 0.3% this morning to 1,635p and are up 9.9% year-on-year.