Another Strong Year For Nichols

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Another Strong Year For Nichols

Another Strong Year For Nichols
March 06
14:35 2015

Nichols, the UK soft drinks group, has posted sales of £109.2 million for the year ended 31 December 2014, an increase of 3.5% compared to the prior year, representing growth of 4.1% on a constant exchange rate basis. In addition to the sales increase Nichols continued with its strategy of focusing on value over volume and its operating margin improved from 21% to 23% driven by healthy international growth. As a result, profit before tax (pre-exceptional items) grew by 14.1% to £25.7 million.

Nichols is a highly focused soft drinks business. Its brand portfolio includes Vimto, which is sold in over 65 countries and Levi Roots, Sunkist and Panda which are sold in the UK. The group has a leading market position in both the ‘still’ and ‘carbonate’ drinks categories.

Nichols’ UK sales increased by 3.3%, out-performing the soft drinks market growth of 0.4%. During 2014, Nichols continued to invest in its brands and in the spring successfully introduced the new Vimto advertising campaign along with a complete redesign of the Vimto packaging. These activities contributed to a healthy 4.5% growth in UK sales of the Vimto brand, which was achieved despite the continued challenging trading conditions in the UK grocery market.

Driven by a strong performance in the Middle East, international sales increased by 4.3% to £24.1 million. The underlying increase was even stronger at 7.3% when viewed on a constant exchange rate basis. Vimto concentrate sales to Nichols’ key Middle East market increase by 12.3% on the back of strong in-country demand for the brand. Elsewhere sales to African markets again performed well, increasing 3.9% on a reported basis, or 8.6% on a constant exchange rate basis against the prior year.

John Nichols, non-executive chairman of Nichols, says: “2014 was another strong year for Nichols as the group once again outperformed the wider soft drinks market on its way to delivering double digit operating profit growth, pre-exceptional items. This strong outcome is again underpinned by the strength and heritage of our core Vimto brand both in the UK and internationally, as well as the diversity of our products and markets.”

He adds: “We remain focused on delivering our growth strategy both in the UK and internationally and we look forward to the year ahead with confidence.”

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