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Revenue up at soft drinks firm

Heatwave boosts sales and market share for AG Barr

Irn-BruHot weather helped Irn-Bru manufacturer AG Barr report strong sales for the half-year to the end of July.

Revenue is expected to be about £136 million, an increase of 5% on the prior year (£129.8m) which follows the 8.8% growth reported for the corresponding period in 2017.

The soft drinks market was up 4.5% in value terms and increased 1.4% in volume (source : IRI UK soft drinks market data), recovering from the impact of severe weather in the first quarter and benefiting from hot early summer weather across the UK, along with the value increase associated with the implementation of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) in April.

Against this market backdrop the core brands, which also include Rubicon, Strathmore and Funkin, have performed well.

In the period the company completed its reformulation programme and has grown market share.  The Irn-Bru brand in particular has continued its positive growth momentum, with regular Irn-Bru increasing its volume and value share of the total soft drinks market alongside strong growth in Irn-Bru Extra.

In a statement, the company said: “We have continued to invest behind both our established brands and our innovation pipeline.  In the period this has supported further significant growth in Rubicon Spring and the recent launch of Street Drinks by Rubicon.

“Our new partnership brands, San Benedetto and Bundaberg, have made encouraging early progress and Funkin continues to perform strongly across all channels.

“Our balance sheet remains robust supported by strong cash generation and the share repurchase programme continued during the period.”

The company said the external landscape remains volatile with the addition of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, the market impact of which is still to be fully determined.

Roger White, chief executive, said: “We have delivered strong top-line growth in a period of considerable marketplace volatility and change.

“Our growth across core brands is especially encouraging and our strong second half brand and sales development plans give us confidence that we can deliver against our profit expectations.”

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