Britvic has posted a 16.3% rise in pre-tax profits for the six months to 12 April and claimed it was seeing “modest improvements” in the British soft drinks market.

Profits at the soft drinks producer were £20m, while group sales increased by 6.3% to £483.2m. The group increased its interim dividend by 7.9% to 4.1p. It said it expects its brands to outperform the British soft drinks market in the second-half.

Analysts expect the company to report pre-tax profits of £75m for the year to September 2009.

Shares in Britvic closed at 268.75p on Tuesday, valuing the group at around £585m. They have increased in value by more than 10% in the last three months.

“Britvic has again delivered strong increases in revenue, profit before tax and earnings against the backdrop of very challenging economic conditions. Our brands have continued to outperform in each of our key markets,” said chief executive Paul Moody.

“Revenues in our second half so far continue in line with our first half performance and we have also started to see modest improvements in the British soft drinks market. These trends, combined with our proven sales and marketing strategies as well as disciplined cost management, mean we are very well-placed to drive continued group earnings growth and cash generation. All of this gives us confidence in meeting full-year expectations.”