March 13, 2018 / 7:37 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Fevertree full-year profit jumps 64 pct on Britain's gin craze

(Adds sales details, background)

March 13 (Reuters) - Fevertree Drinks Plc reported a 64 percent jump in full-year core earnings as the tonic water maker benefited from Britain’s thirst for gin.

Fevertree, which makes flavoured tonic water and other mixers, has gained from a boom in demand for premium gin in the UK, with shares soaring nearly 17-fold since their listing in 2014.

The company said its UK revenue nearly doubled in 2017 with “particularly notable” performance over the Christmas period.

Fevertree, named after the colloquial term for the cinchona tree, the bark of which produces quinine - a key ingredient in tonic water - has become one of the largest companies on London’s junior AIM market, with a market value of around 3.1 billion pounds.

A move by Coca-Cola’s Schweppes to compete in premium drinks caused some weakness in Fevertree stock late last year.

The company said in January that it had gained “significant market share”, soothing investor worries about a pick-up in competition from bigger rival Schweppes, which has recently increased its presence in premium products.

Fevertree, said adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose to 35.8 million pounds ($49.7 million) in the year ended Dec. 31, from 58.7 million pounds a year earlier.

Revenue rose 66.5 percent to 170.2 million pounds. ($1 = 0.7199 pounds) (Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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