Soft drinks manufacturer Nichols has reported a healthy rise in sales and profits for the year to 31 December, with growth coming from both its UK and international markets.
The group’s total revenue was 7.4% higher at £117.3m, with operating profit increasing 9% to £30.3m.
Despite the tough trading conditions, total sales in the UK rose 7% to £90.7m. The group said that growth was driven by a strong performance from its core Vimto brand and the integration of frozen beverage maker The Noisy Drinks Company that it acquired at the start of the year.
Sales of its Vimto brand grew 4.7% in the year, outperforming the UK soft drinks market where sales growth was 1% (Nielsen year to date 31 December 2016). Nichols said that addition of frozen drinks had enhanced its Out of Home offer, which also includes dispense and packaged soft drinks across both the still and carbonate market.
Meanwhile, total international sales increased 8.8% to £26.6m (+2.7% on a constant exchange rate basis). The group said that result was driven by sales to markets in Africa markets where revenues jumped by 32.5% to £10.5m (+19.7% on a constant exchange rate basis). It added in-market Vimto sales in the Middle East showed healthy growth, and whilst sales of concentrate were slightly down on the prior year, this was a result of the timing of shipments ahead of Ramadan in 2017.
John Nichols, Non-Executive Chairman, hailed 2016 as a “very good year for Nichols”, adding: “The Group has a clear strategy for growth and whilst the soft drinks market is likely to remain challenging in 2017, the Board remains confident of delivering continued success underpinned by our strong brands, diversification and successful track record of profitable growth.”