Britvic points to Shoots of growth

Britvic, the soft drinks firm which is in the process of merging with Irn-Bru maker AG Barr, has reached an agreement with Pepsi to speed up the roll out of its Fruit Shoot brand.

Britvic was hit by the recall of some Fruit Shoot products last summer because of safety concerns over a new lid design.

The British firm said today that Fruit Shoot would be available in 30 US states in time for summer, while PepsiCo South West Europe will start distributing the brand in Spain in the spring.

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The announcement was made as part of an interim management statement in which the company said price rises helped revenue grow 4.8 per cent to £303.2m in the final three months of last year.

Chief executive Paul Moody said: “Our business units have delivered a much improved performance in the first quarter of the year resulting in group revenue growth of 4.8 per cent.

“In Britain we have delivered strong carbonates revenue and market share growth, continued to increase Robinsons’ share of the squash market and are on track with the Fruit Shoot return to market plan.

“The performance in both France and Ireland has been encouraging. The growth of Fruit Shoot internationally accelerates with the launch in Spain, and we will have substantially increased Fruit Shoot distribution in the US in time for the summer.”

AG Barr and Britvic are waiting to hear whether their all-share merger is to be approved by regulators. An announcement is expected next month.