AG Barr, the soft drinks group whose brands include Irn-Bru and Strathmore water, has reported a 9.6% rise in profit before tax and exceptionals to £38.1m in the 12 months to 26 January, a period it described as one of “significant progress” at the company.
Turnover increased by 6.9% to £254.1m. Underlying earnings per share grew by 10.1% to 27.02p. The company said its core brands - Irn Bru, Barr, Rubicon and Rockstar - grew and outperformed the market in the period, with particularly strong growth coming from the carbonates segment.
Sales of carbonates by value grew 8.2%, “a result of the consistent growth of our core carbonate brands Irn Bru and Barr, with the addition of a strong performance from our franchise energy brand Rockstar”.
Its still drinks portfolio “had a more subdued year”, growing by 2.7% in value terms. “Within this performance, Rubicon stills grew by 4% and the Strathmore water brand grew by over 9%, reflecting the delivery of a number of business development activities and the positive impact of the warm summer weather on the category.”
Roger White, chief executive, said: “It has been another year of significant progress at AG Barr which has seen us outperform the market and improve our conversion of sales into profit growth.
“The financial position of the group has grown stronger in the past 12 months and the platform for growth has been further reinforced by the performance of our brands, assets and people. The business has benefited hugely from the challenges of the past year, emerging stronger, fitter and more ambitious to develop.
“Despite remaining cautious regarding the environment we operate in and the challenges we face, we are confident in our future prospects.”
Chairman Ronald Hanna said: “It was an eventful year including the termination of the proposed merger with Britvic plc, which despite the initial recommendation of both boards and eventual clearance by the Competition Commission, could not subsequently be agreed by both boards.
“I reported last year that, despite the potential distraction of the Britvic deal, our priority remained on the business elements within our control - building brand equity, driving sales fundamentals, seeking efficiency gains and controlling costs and that is exactly what we have done. As a consequence, our business has had another strong financial year.”