January 23, 2013 10:24 am

Britvic sales ‘resilient’ before merger

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Britvic, the soft drinks company set to merge with its Scottish rival AG Barr , reported a year-on-year 4.8 per cent rise in group revenues to £303.2m in the first quarter.

While the numbers were described as “resilient” by Wayne Brown, analyst at Cannacord Genuity, the market would have been more interested in an update on the £1.4bn deal, billed as a merger but sparked by a takeover bid from the maker of Irn-Bru.

Talks were twice extended and the Office for Fair Trading subsequently extended the deadline for its deliberations into the deal, which would create one of Europe’s largest soft drinks manufacturers.

In its interim management statement released on Wednesday morning, the maker of Robinsons squashes said British revenues rose 5.4 per cent, led by carbonated drinks which increased 9.2 per cent.

Sales in Ireland fell 2.8 per cent and in France revenue growth of 4.3 per cent was well below the previous year’s 12.6 per cent.

The company, which bottles Pepsi in the UK, also said it was accelerating plans to distribute its Fruit Shoot drinks – subject of a pricey recall – to a total of 30 US states by summer and in Spain in spring.

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