* Year pretax profit 84.4 mln stg vs 105.1 mln stg in 2011
* Fruit Shoot recall cost 16.9 mln stg; up to 8 mln in 2013
* Sees Fruit Shoot production back to normal in January
By Neil Maidment
LONDON, Nov 27 British soft drinks maker Britvic
said production of its Fruit Shoot children's drink
would be back to normal by January after a costly recall due to
faulty caps, along with a cool summer, hit annual profit.
The maker of Tango and Robinsons drinks, which this month
agreed terms on a 1.4 billion pound ($2.2 billion) merger with
A.G. Barr, said on Tuesday underlying pretax profit fell
19 percent to 84.4 million pounds in the year ended Sept. 30.
Britvic, which also makes and sells PepsiCo brands
in Britain and Ireland, said a strong performance in its British
carbonated drinks business and market share gains had been
undone by a recall of Fruit Shoot drinks.
The recall cost 16.9 million pounds in the year ended
September, and will cost up to 8 million this financial year, it
said, adding production levels would return to levels in line
with historical demand by January.
The Fruit Shoot hit pushed group revenue down 0.8 percent to
1.26 billion pounds at constant exchange rates, impacting its
British still drinks, international and French businesses, while
its Irish operation continued to slump under tough economic
A wet summer has also hit the retail and leisure markets
hard this year, adding to trading conditions already made
difficult by consumers facing austerity measures, rising bills
and muted wage growth.
Analysts at Panmure Gordon said the results were ahead of
their expectations for a pretax profit of 79.5 million pounds.
"We forecast that Britvic as a standalone business should be
able to deliver a strong increase in profitability once it has
worked through the issues caused by the Fruit Shoot recall.
Specifically we forecast 27 percent adjusted pretax profit
growth to 101.4 million pounds," the broker said in a note,
referring to the current 2012/13 financial year.
Group adjusted net debt was 446.7 million pounds.
Britvic's all-share deal with Irn-Bru maker Barr, which is
subject to both shareholder and regulatory approval, will create
one of Europe's biggest soft drinks companies, named Barr
Britvic Soft Drinks.
The enlarged group, to be run by Barr chief executive Roger
White, will result in a 63 percent stake for Britvic
shareholders with AG Barr investors holding the rest.
Shares in Britvic were down 0.7 percent at 0955 GMT to 397.1
pence, slightly underperforming the UK midcap index.