Merseyside-based Vimto and soft drinks firm Nichols plc said on Wednesday its profit before tax rose 2.1% to £32.4 million and revenue increased 3.5% to £147 million in the year ended December 31, 2019.
If approved by shareholders, Nichols’ total dividend for 2019 will be 40.4p per share, an increase of 6% on the prior year.
Nichols’ other brands include Feel Good, Starslush, ICEE, Levi Roots and Sunkist.
UK sales grew 2.5% to £117.5 million. International sales rose 7.5% to £29.5 million.
“Sales to the Middle East grew by 20.6% to £11.6m against softer prior year comparatives (2018: £9.6m),” said said Nichols.
“As anticipated, this performance reflects a return to normal levels of concentrate sales during the year.
“Within the region, we achieved our best ever sales performance of the Vimto brand during Ramadan 2019.”
In December, Nichols warned in a trading update that a new excise tax of 50% on sweetened drinks in its key Saudi Arabian and UAE markets will have “a negative impact from 2020.”
In its outlook on Wednesday, Nichols said: “Further to our trading announcement on 23 December 2019 regarding the new Sweetened Beverage Excise Tax in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, we anticipate being in a position to update the market in our Interim Results Announcement on 22 July 2020.
“At that point in time, we will have the benefit of the data post the critical Ramadan trading period.”
Nichols chairman John Nichols said: “I am pleased to report on a year of further progress during which Nichols achieved continued revenue growth in both our international and UK businesses.”