UK sales growth of almost 5% over the past year has helped soft drinks giant Britvic to a double-digit rise in pre-tax profits, while a bottling deal with Lipton looks set to get its new financial year off to a strong start.

The group announced today that profits for the year 28 September had risen by 14% to £70.1m, up from a figure of £61.3m for the previous year.

The news comes after Britvic last month reported a rise in total sales of almost 30% to £926.5m – with the addition in 2007 of Britvic Ireland adding just over £200m to the coffers.

The CEO cited strong performances from brands including Fruit Shoot and Robinsons and said an exclusive bottling agreement with Lipton Iced Tea was imminent.

“This is a strong performance achieved despite very challenging trading and cost environments, delivering earnings-per-share growth of nearly 22%,” said Britvic chief executive Paul Moody.

“What has set us apart this year is our winning combination of strong brands and the consistent execution of our point-of-purchase, innovation and marketing strategies. Once again, we have outperformed the soft drinks market across all key categories.”

He added: “It is encouraging to see the significant upgrade to the synergies in Ireland in the midst of unprecedented trading conditions.”