Vimto fizz saves the quarter for Merseyside’s Nichols

Shares of Merseyside-based Vimto and soft drinks firm Nichols plc rose about 3% on Wednesday after it published a trading update for the three months to March 31, 2021, to coincide with the company’s annual general meeting.

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

“Strong growth achieved by the Vimto brand in the UK and a solid start to the year for the group’s international business have largely offset significant declines in the UK Out of Home (OoH) route to market,” said Vimto.

“As a result, total group revenue in the period decreased by only 5.9% to £30.7m against the prior year, despite the impact of the UK lockdown.

“The Vimto brand has continued to outperform the wider UK soft drinks market, achieving growth of 4.9% in value terms in the year to date, versus 3.2% value growth across the wider UK soft drinks market.

“Across the group’s international markets, the strong momentum reported in the prior year has continued.

“Trading since the year end has remained very challenging in the group’s OoH route to market.

“Revenues in OoH were 91.9% lower in the period than those seen in the same period of 2020, as most of the group’s customers’ outlets remained closed.

“Despite the financial challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period remained strong at £43.1m (31 December 2020: £47.3m).”

In its outlook for the year, Nichols said: “Should the UK Government’s planned roadmap out of lockdown continue, and assuming the absence of further lockdowns later in the year, the board expects full year adjusted profit before tax (PBT) to be broadly in line with current market expectations.”