IRN-BRU maker AG Barr has told investors it is “cautiously optimistic” about its prospects for the year ahead after sales accelerated in recent months.
The Cumbernauld-based firm, which suffered a 0.6 per cent dip in third-quarter revenues after losing the UK contract to sell Orangina, said its trading performance during the three months to 25 January was “well ahead” of the wider soft drinks market, with growth of more than 5 per cent.
Full-year revenues are expected to have risen about 2 per cent to £259 million. Stripping out the impact of lost Orangina revenues, year-on-year sales growth would be about 3 per cent on a like-for-like basis. The Orangina deal was terminated following the acquisition of Ribena and Lucozade by Japanese group Suntory in 2013.
Barr said all its core brands, which also include Rubicon, Strathmore Water and Tizer, have performed well in an intensely competitive and often volatile market, with sales helped by its sponsorship of last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Group chief executive Roger White said: “We are cautiously optimistic regarding the new financial year and at this point expect to see further growth and development across the company, despite the challenging operating environment and market conditions.”
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Full-year results are due on 24 March, and analysts at Investec, who have a “buy” rating on Barr’s shares, forecast a pre-tax profit of £41.5m, up from £38.1m last time.