Factory to double output this year

Irn-Bru maker to unveil record profits and expand MK factory

Irn-Bru commonwealthIrn-Bru maker AG Barr is poised to unveil record profits this week and reveal that it will invest in further expansion of its giant new factory in Milton Keynes.

The Cumbernauld company, which also makes Vimto and Tizer soft drinks, is understood to have seen a strong end to the year with sales up 5% in the final quarter, adding to a boost from the Commonwealth Games.

Barr, which also makes Rubicon and Strathmore water, broadened its portfolio last month by paying £21m for the Funkin cocktail mixer company. Taxable profits are expected to push through £41 million.

The company guided in its fourth quarter statement that full year revenue will be around £259m, a year on year growth of  about 2%. Stripping out the impact of lost Orangina revenue, year on year sales growth would be closer to 3% on a like for like basis.

It said the Commonwealth Games sponsorship and some strong brand innovation have helped to support the performance of the company’s core brands.

Its huge plant in Milton Keynes was completed just under two years ago. It is highly automated, sits on 12.7 acres of land, and output this year should double to 19 million cans.

It currently has one canning line that fills 2,000 cans a minute with Irn-Bru, Diet Irn-Bru and the energy drink Rockstar. The factory employs 67 AG Barr staff and 100 who work for haulage firm Eddie Stobart which manages the adjacent warehouse.

Tim Stacey, factory manager, told a trade magazine last week: “There will be more investment at the site. I couldn’t tell you what that will be, or when it would happen, but the facility has been built to accommodate more and there are plans to continue the site’s expansion.”

The company strengthened its board last week with the appointment of Bovis Homes Group boss David Ritchie as a non-executive director. Ritchie, a former chief executive of KPMG, has been CEO at Bovis since 2008.

Chris MillingtonIn recent weeks Barr has enjoyed unexpected support for Irn-Bru, firstly after the Scottish ebola-infected nurse Pauline Cafferkey said it helped her get through her ordeal.

Earlier this month top model Chris Millington (left) said he was quitting London’s “soulless” cocktail and canapes circuit to return home to Kilmarnock.

“I really don’t need to be doing all that networking thing anymore. I think I’m sick of canapes and free vodka,” he said. “I’m done with it, I just want an Irn-Bru and a fish supper.”



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