Barr revenue down 2.9% to £125m

Cumbernauld-based soft drinks maker A.G. Barr said it anticipates revenue in the six months to July 30 will be £125 million, down 2.9% year on year, amid a “challenging” UK soft drinks market.

Barr also warned weak sterling following the Brexit vote may increase its input costs in 2017.

Barr produces some of the UK’s leading brands including Irn-Bru, Rubicon, Strathmore and Funkin.

In a trading update, Barr said the UK soft drinks market had been challenging in the last six months.

“Despite the challenging market conditions we have remained focused on delivering against our strategy, launching relevant new products, closely controlling costs, managing risk and ensuring we generate strong free cash flow,” said the firm.

Barr recently announced a new zero sugar version of Irn-Bru and launched other lower sugar products across its Rubicon and Snapple brands. 

“Our new products are all showing encouraging early signs with both customers and consumers, and are positive additions to our broadening portfolio,” said Barr.

In the last six months Barr has also launched a full Irn-Bru brand redesign, a new £5 million glass bottling line at Cumbernauld, and has closed its defined benefit pension scheme “to future accrual.”

In its outlook, Barr said the Brexit vote had resulted in “a degree of economic uncertainty” and a weakening of sterling.

The company said the impact of weaker sterling will not have a significant impact on its business in 2016, “but it is anticipated input costs will increase in 2017, providing management time to adjust plans accordingly.”

Barr concluded: “The balance of the summer will remain an important trading period, however assuming market conditions improve and our robust second half plans deliver, we expect to meet our profit expectations for the full year.”