Vimto firm Nichols sees H1 revenue, profit rise

Merseyside-based Vimto and soft drinks firm Nichols plc said its revenue rose 2.3% to £65 million and profit before tax increased 2.7% to £13.1 million in the half year ended June 30, 2018.

“UK sales totalled £53.8 million in the period, an increase of 13.2% compared to the prior year,” said Nichols chairman John Nichols.

“Within the UK business, the Vimto brand, which is 110 years old this year, continued to significantly outperform the market.

“Year to date sales of the Vimto brand are up 9.0% compared to the total UK market which increased by 3.7% (Nielsen YTD to 16 June 2018).

“Elsewhere in the UK, Out of Home revenue increased by 13.6%, with the growth coming from both dispense and frozen product sales.

“The UK growth was delivered in both the Still and Carbonate segments.

Total international sales were in line with our expectations at £11.2 million, £4.8 million lower than the same period in 2017.

“The majority of the reduction is a result of lower sales to the Middle East as anticipated in our 2017 Preliminary Results statement (1 March 2018).

“This is due to the ongoing conflict in Yemen and the timing of shipments to Saudi Arabia.

“Elsewhere in our international business, sales to Africa totalled £6.8 million.

“Whilst this is 3.7% down at the half year point, the board is confident that full year sales to this region will deliver year on year growth.

“Reflecting the board’s continued confidence in the outlook for the group, we are pleased to announce an interim dividend of 11.3 pence per share, an increase of 11.9% compared to the prior year.”

In his outlook, Nichols said: “Whilst we maintain our original guidance that full year sales to the Middle East will be lower when compared to the prior year, the board anticipate a stronger second half year in our international business.

As a result, the board are confident that full year earnings will be in line with expectations.”

Nichols’ other brands include Feel Good, Starslush, ICEE, Levi Roots and Sunkist.

The firm has sales in more than 85 countries, with Vimto popular in the UK, the Middle East and Africa.