Irn Bru-maker Barr takes pandemic hit

(Reuters) - A.G. Barr BAG.L, famous for Scottish fizzy drink Irn-Bru, posted a near 63% slump in half-year profits on Tuesday, as this year's coronavirus restrictions weakened sales in pubs and other outlets.

The UK government warned on Monday that pubs and restaurants across Britain could again face greater restrictions to tackle another jump in COVID-19 cases, threatening another blow to the hospitality industry and its suppliers.

“While UK-wide lockdown measures have been gradually lifted, there remains a continued high degree of uncertainty associated with further potential COVID-19 outbreaks, such as significant localised lockdowns, and the resulting impacts,” A.G. Barr said.

The company said sales of Irn Bru itself grew marginally, while reporting an overall 8% slide in revenues to 113.2 million pounds for the period.

Even assuming that the UK does not enter a further significant period of lockdown, the Rockstar and Rubicon maker said that it expects full year revenue for the year ending January 2021 to be in the region of 12-15% below last year.

It had said in July it expected revenue to fall by up to 15% this year.

The Cumbernauld-headquartered company added its dividend position remains under review but that it expects to resume payments next year.

The soft drinks maker said profit before tax fell to 5.1 million pounds for the six months ended July 2020, compared with 13.5 million pounds a year earlier.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar and Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham