AG Barr profits continue to sparkle

Soft drinks group AG Barr reported a 13% jump in annual profit to £31.6m in 2010, following strong growth from brands such as Irn-Bru and Rubicon.

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Like-for-like sales increased 10% to £222.4m for the twelve months to 29 January.

The group says it outperformed a “buoyant” soft drinks market last year. The overall UK take home soft drinks market grew 7% last year, largely driven by carbonates which grew 10% in value, according to Nielsen.

AG Barr says it increased its focus on its core brands, Irn-Bru, Barr and Rubicon, “utilising the full marketing mix to drive awareness, build consumer trial and develop across an increasingly large geographical area within the UK”.

Irn-Bru ran a £3m Scottish television ad campaign in April last year, returning to the “classic and maverick”-style advertising that helped build its iconic status in the country.

AG Barr chief executive Roger White says: “We have increased our share of this growing market and have done so through sustainable long term brand and product investment rather than short term price driven activity.”

Rubicon was one of AG Barr’s strongest-performing brands last year and revenue is now almost double its pre-acquisition levels in 2008.

Despite a strong 2010, the company warns commodity costs could contribute to making 2011 a “volatile” year. The group made “modest” price increases to protect operating margins against the low growth environment last year and it is expected to do the same in 2011.

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