British drinks maker Britvic said Monday its first-half branded drinks revenues rose 9.3% from the comparable period a year ago and it was confident about the its full-year performance, as sales of non-carbonated drinks such as Robinsons Squashes, J2O and Fruit Shoot helped the company swing into profit.
The company reported a first-half profit of 6.9 million pounds ($13.6 million), or 3.2 pence a share, in the 28 weeks ended April 15, compared with a loss of 5.5 million pounds a year earlier, or 2.6 pence a share. Excluding one-time items, Britvic earned 23.2 million pounds, up from 18.6 million in the year-ago period.
Total branded revenues were up 9.3% to 353.6 million pounds ($696.59 million) for the first half, up from 323.5 million pounds ($637.3 million) in the period ended April 2006.
Britvic agreed last week to buy the soft drinks business of Irish drinks group C&C for 249.2 million euros ($336.42 million). C&C has the rights to Pepsi and 7-up in Ireland, which matches Britvic’s U.K. rights to the drinks.
“Working with Pepsi is a key part of our strategy … the announcement we made last week about the agreement to buy C&C soft drinks clearly strengthens that,” CEO Paul Moody told “Squawk Box Europe.”
But the solid numbers weren’t enough to push shares higher, which dropped 2% on concerns that the company may try to block a private-equity takeover approach. Shares of Britvic are up 28% since March on speculation that Permira, which owns 14% of the company, would make a $2 billion offer for the entire company.
But Britvic is considering adopting a poison pill to rebuff a private-equity bid by extending its partnership with Pepsico, London’s Sunday telegraph reported.
When asked about the speculation Moody said his “focus is continuing to deliver against a strategy and demonstrate to our shareholders that we can build great value for them.”