Ballygowan owner expects further sales pressure from new lockdowns

Soft drinks group said trading in the first quarter of its current financial year – the three months to the end of December – continued to be impacted by Covid restrictions
Ballygowan owner expects further sales pressure from new lockdowns

Ballygowan owner Britvic said its profit this year will depend on how quickly restrictions are eased across Ireland and the UK.

Ballygowan and MiWadi owner Britvic expects its sales performance to continue to come under pressure this year in the face of national lockdowns in Ireland and the UK set to continue into March.

The British soft drinks group said trading in the first quarter of its current financial year — the three months to the end of December —continued to be impacted by Covid restrictions in its main markets.

Total group first quarter revenue fell by nearly 6%, year-on-year, to £328.1m (€371m).

Britvic owns the likes of Drench water and the Robinsons range of juice drinks. 

In Ireland, it also owns the Club range and TK Lemonade and holds the Irish distribution rights to 7-Up, Pepsi Max and Mountain Dew.

“The introduction, in Britain and Ireland, of tighter pre-Christmas Covid-19 restrictions, and the subsequent national lockdown measures, have put further pressure on sales in both the hospitality sector and on the go consumption," said Britvic chief executive Simon Litherland.

"While there remains considerable uncertainty over the depth and duration of future restrictions, we anticipate they will remain in place at least through our second quarter. Consequently, we would expect performance to continue to be significantly affected," he said. 

Mr Litherland said group profit growth this year will depend on the pace of the easing of restrictions.

In November, Britvic reported a near 9% fall — to £1.4bn — in annual revenues. In the first half of its last financial year, its Irish-based revenues fell by 12.5%.

Mr Litherland said, however, Britvic will continue to invest in its brands.

"While the introduction of the latest restrictions will undoubtedly impact this year's results, we will continue to implement our strategy."

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