Sales surge adds fizz to Vimto firm

VIMTO owner Nichols saw its shares fizz up 10 per cent yesterday after the soft drinks maker unveiled an 18 per cent hike in annual sales.

The firm, which also owns the Sunkist and Panda brands, said group profit for 2011 would be “significantly ahead of last year” and would beat market expectations despite cost pressures on its UK business and an “exceptionally high level of promotional activity”.

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Nichols said improvements in productivity and tight cost control had allowed it to maintain profit margins despite discounting and high raw material costs affecting its UK operation. Shares in the firm rose 54p to 591.5p.

Broker Panmure Gordon has named Nichols one of its top picks for 2012, and expects full-year profits to come in at £17.4 million.