January 31, 2018 / 7:59 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 2- One-off charge eclipses sales rise at UK's Britvic

* To take a one-off charge of 35-40 mln stg

* Q1 sales up 3.3 pct, or 0.7 pct excluding acquisition

* Shares fall more than 3 percent (Add detail, background shares)

By Rahul B

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Britvic will take a charge of up to 40 million pounds ($57 million) this financial year due mainly to the closure of a factory in eastern England, the soft drinks maker said on Wednesday, hitting its shares despite a rise in quarterly sales.

The maker of Robinsons squash and Tango fizzy drinks said it October it planned to withdraw from a factory in Norwich - a site co-occupied with Anglo-Dutch consumer giant Unilever, which subsequently said it would also pull out.

Britvic said the site would close in 2019 and it was trying to find new roles or alternative employment for its 240 affected employees. Unilever’s decision affected a further 113 jobs.

Britvic said on Wednesday it would take a one-off charge of about 35-40 million pounds this financial year, mainly related to the closure.

Its shares were down 3.6 percent to 761 pence at 1000 GMT, despite a 3.3 percent rise in sales in the first-quarter of its financial year, which ends in September. The stock has risen more than 21 percent in the last 12 months.

Excluding a recent acquisition, sales were up 0.7 percent.

Revenue in Britain rose 1 percent, including a 4.9 percent rise from carbonated drinks such as Pepsi MAX.

A sugar tax on UK soft drinks is due to come into force in April, but Britvic said it was well placed to cope, helped by the breadth of its portfolio which includes drinks not covered by the tax. Manufacturers are also rushing to reduce sugar in their drinks.

Britvic said it had also absorbed a number of one-off costs related to Palmer and Harvey, one of its wholesalers that was recently placed in administration. ($1 = 0.7045 pounds) (Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Mark Potter)

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