A sharp fall in profits failed to take the fizz out of Britvic.
The owner of Tango and Robinsons juices reported a 16.5 per cent fall in pre-tax profit to £41.8million in the 28 weeks to April 15, partly down to closing its Norwich factory.
Stripping out exceptional charges, the drinks giant’s profits were up 12.2 per cent to £49.8million.
The FTSE 250 firm, which also bottles Pepsi in the UK, sold 1.2bn litres of soft drinks over the period, up 3.6 per cent on the previous year, helping drive revenue up 4.5 per cent to £733.2million.
Booming demand for healthier drinks following the Government’s sugar tax boosted sales of Britvic’s low and no-sugar alternatives, particularly Pepsi MAX, which outstripped all other colas. Roughly 94 per cent of Britvic’s brands are exempt from the levy.
Going flat: Britvic reported a 16.5 per cent fall in pre-tax profit to £41.8m in the 28 weeks to April 15, partly down to closing its Norwich factory
Simon Litherland, chief executive of Britvic, said: ‘With a strong start to the year and exciting commercial plans for the second half, I remain confident of continuing to make progress this year.’
Jonathan Fyfe, an analyst at Mirabaud, said Britvic’s results came in well ahead of market expectations, adding: ‘Delivered against the backdrop of particularly poor winter weather, these results are a very solid performance.’ Shares leapt 7.5 per cent, or 57p, to 815.5p.
The FTSE 100 slid back from a record high following a dire day for British oil and mining firms. It slipped 1.13 per cent, or 89.01 points, to 7788.44.
HSBC downgraded the owner of British Airways to ‘reduce’, arguing that the market had overreacted to the better-than-expected profits it reported for the first quarter.
The bank believes International Consolidated Airlines will be hit by rising fuel prices and has also raised concerns about the group’s bid for budget rival Norwegian Air Shuttle. Shares dipped 2.4 per cent, or 16.6p, to 686p.
Stock Watch – Magnolia Petroleum
Magnolia Petroleum shares fell after the US oil and gas company revealed plans to cancel its listing on AIM.
It needs 75 per cent of shareholders votes when it meets them on June 7 to cancel its shares.
Magnolia, which listed in 2011, says its listing is not providing the funding it needs.
It added: ‘The company’s share price remains depressed which further adds to the difficulty of raising funds through the AIM market.’
Shares tanked 69.6 per cent, or 1.6p, to 0.7p.
Softcat shares shot up 7.6 per cent, or 50p, to 711p after the IT firm said its full-year results would be ahead of expectations.
Graeme Watt, Softcat’s chief executive, said: ‘We continue to hit our goals across the business.’ Jefferies, the investment bank, raised Softcat’s target price from 690p to 725p.
London landlord Great Portland Estates swung back into profit despite Brexit putting the brakes on the capital’s property market.
The FTSE 250 firm reported a pre-tax profit of £76.7million in the year to March 31, up from a £140.2million loss the year before.
However, shares dipped 2.4 per cent, or 16.2p, to 660.1p after it warned that rents were softening.
In the small caps, Frankie & Benny’s owner was hit by the Beast from the East but is confident of hitting full-year guidance.
In a trading update, Restaurant Group revealed like-for-like sales were down 4.3 per cent in the 20 weeks ending May 20 as a result of the heavy snow earlier this year.
But the group’s positive outlook was enough to convince investors, and its shares rose 3.4 per cent, or 10.6p, to 324.2p.
Hollywood Bowl, the largest 10-pin bowling operator in the UK, reported a 17.4 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £14.6million in the six months ending March 31.
Revenue grew 9.3 per cent to £63.6million, and shares rose 1.8 per cent, or 4p, to 227p.
On AIM, Physiomics, which uses technology to predict the effectiveness of cancer treatments, crashed 26.5 per cent, or 1.6p, to 4.45p after it raised £525,000 from investors. It plans to use the money to expand its team, improve marketing and fund future projects.
Team17, the British software firm behind video game Worms, had a strong first day as a listed company, with its shares shooting up 33.3 per cent, or 55p, to 220p.
Shares in property website On The Market rose 8.7 per cent, or 13.5p, to 169p to reach a record high.