* FY group revenue down 0.8 pct to 1.26 bln stg
* Fruit shoot recall hit revenue growth by 2 pct
* Decline in UK and Ireland overshadows growth in France
LONDON, Oct 18 British soft drinks group Britvic
reported lower full-year revenue, blaming a sour final
quarter on the costly recall of a popular children's drink.
The company, which is currently in talks with Scottish
Irn-Bru maker AG Barr about a 1.3 billion pound ($2
billion) merger, said it was nonetheless confident about meeting
its full-year expectations.
"We continue to place a strong emphasis on cash generation
and rigorous cost management across the group," Chief Executive
Paul Moody said in trading update on Thursday.
Britvic, which makes and sells PepsiCo brands such
as Pepsi and 7UP in Britain and Ireland, was hit this summer by
poor weather and a recall of its popular children's drink Fruit
Shoot over faulty caps.
It estimated that the product recall impacted revenue growth
by approximately 2 percent.
Group revenue for the year to September 30 inched down to
1.26 billion pounds, a decline of 0.8 percent at a constant
exchange rate. Volumes were down 1.6 percent.
Poor trading in the final quarter in Britain and Ireland,
where revenue slid respectively by 4.3 percent and 8.5 percent,
overshadowed a 13.3 percent jump in France that was driven by
Britvic said talks with AG Barr were ongoing. The proposed
all-share merger would create one of Europe's leading soft drink
companies, selling products ranging from Robinsons squash with
Irn-Bru, the fizzy orange drink long-dubbed "Scotland's other
national drink," alongside Scotch whisky.
Shares in Britvic, up nearly 12 percent since the beginning
of the year, closed at 360 pence on Wednesday on the London
Stock Exchange, valuing the company at around 865 million