Britvic's Fizzy Drinks in Decline, Profits Flat

British soft drinks company Britvic reported flat yearly profits on Thursday as increasingly health-conscious consumers shun its fizzy drinks such as Tango.

Britvic, which floated on the stock market last December, has been caught with the wrong products as consumers switch to fruit juices and naturally flavoured spring water.

"The fruit carbonates market, where we have Tango, has been under huge pressure and our share has been under pressure," Chief Executive Paul Moody told a conference call.

"We don't currently have a juice proposition in the take-home market, which is clearly an area of growth," he added.

The group, which also makes fruit drinks J2O, Fruit Shoot and Robinsons and is licensed by PepsiCo Inc until 2023 to make and sell Pepsi and 7UP, made an operating profit of 73.7 million pounds ($144 million) in the year to Oct. 1, compared with 73.3 million the year before.

"Given the volatility in the carbonates market we remain cautious on the outlook for this category," Britvic said in a statement. It plans to launch new drinks in January.

Analysts at Citigroup said Britvic's earnings per share of 18.4 pence was 4.5 percent better than their expectations, but had been driven by savings in taxes and costs.

"The small upside surprise should prompt a small positive share price reaction, although subsequent performance depends on stemming carbonates' decline and accelerating stills growth, about which there is little new news," they added.

Britvic shares rose 0.5 percent to 233 pence by 0924 London time, valuing the group at around 502 million pounds.

Carbonated drinks revenue fell 4.7 percent in the second half, compared with a 9 percent fall in the first half.

Still drinks revenue rose 5.6 percent following a 1 percent fall in the first half, driven by new water brand launches, juice drinks and squash, the company said.

"Within the carbonates market, no-added-sugar continues to perform better than full-sugar," said Moody. "Pepsi Max has continued to perform very well. Tango Clear has performed better than the overall fruit carbonates market."