Britvic’s half year results – for the 28 weeks to 15 April 2018 – revealed a period of growth for the company. Sales were up 4.5% to £733.2m compared with the previous year, while adjusted earnings before interest and tax grew 9.4% to £80.5m.
Commenting on the results, chief executive Simon Litherland said: “While it is too soon to guide on the ongoing consumer impact of the Soft Drinks Levy, early indications of the competitor and customer response are broadly as we anticipated.
“We have exciting commercial plans in place for the second half and I remain confident of continuing to make progress this year."
Phil Carroll, research analyst at Shore Capital, said momentum had returned to Britvic after a subdued first quarter. Britvic’s performance was very solid, despite adverse weather that could have affected the business.
‘Encouraging signs’ from Britvic
“Overall, a good set of numbers from Britvic and encouraging signs as it enters H2 especially if current weather conditions continue,” added Carroll.
Prepared foods manufacturer Bakkavor continued to post rising sales in its trading update for the 19 weeks to 12 May 2018, with sales up 1.5% compared to the same period last year on a like-for-like basis.
While its growth in the UK has been impacted by ongoing retail price inflation, it expected revenue to benefit from improved market conditions and new business later in the year.
A spokesman said: “The group has kept a strict control on costs and this, together with the efficiency benefits from its ongoing capital investment programme, has helped mitigate continued input inflation. Overall, management expectations for the full year remain unchanged.”
Hilton in line with expectations
Meat processor Hilton Food Group reported trading in line with the board’s expectations for the period from 1 January to 23 May 2018. According to the company, the business continued to grow through additional volumes and close cooperation with its retail partners.
Seachill, which was purchased by Hilton in October last year, had a good start to the year, with performance in line with expectations, following promotional activity in the first quarter of this year.
Shore Capital’s Clive Black and Darren Shirley reiterated their ‘buy’ stance on Hilton Food Group, “reflecting on the combination of the strategic growth opportunities cultivated over the past 12-15 months and the optionality provided by sustained cash flows and strong balance sheet to support further growth initiatives”.
Meanwhile, Greencore has refined its US strategy in a bid to tackle struggles in that market and reported strong UK food-to-go profit and sales growth in its interim results.