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Drinks sector remains tough

Barr benefits from new product roll-out

New variations of Irn-Bru and Rubicon helped boost sales for manufacturer AG Barr which is expecting revenue for the last financial year to be about 1.5% higher.

The Cumbernauld-based company, which also makes Strathmore and Funkin, said the soft drinks market has remained highly competitive, with the latest data for the 48 weeks to 1 January 2017 showing value up c.1% and volume up c.1.5%.

“Our second half trading performance strengthened, supported by successful product innovation, specifically through the launch of Irn-Bru Xtra and Rubicon Spring,” said the company in a statement.

Revenue for the 52 weeks ended 28 January 2017 is expected to be around £257m.  On a like for like basis revenue growth from ongoing business is anticipated to be c.1.5%. 

It has maintained tight control of costs and, in the final quarter, implemented a company-wide re-organisation that has improved organisational capability and reduced overheads.  The operating margin for the financial year remains in line with the company’s expectations.

The balance sheet is robust, supported by strong free cash flow.   

“We believe that the combination of strong trading execution, successful innovation and tight cost control will enable us to meet our profit expectation for the year ended 28 January 2017.

“Looking ahead the uncertain economic environment indicates that 2017 will be another challenging year for UK based businesses.

“However, our strong and flexible business model, our differentiated brands and our well-invested asset base ensure we are well placed to continue to deliver long-term value to shareholders.”

The company will announce its full year results on 28 March.

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