Highland Spring sales up 3% to £103m

Les Montgomery

Bottled water firm Highland Spring Group said sales increased 3% to £103 million and operating profit rose to £5 million in the year to December 31, 2015.

Highland Spring chief executive Les Montgomery said the firm continued to implement plans to invest £30 million back into increased bottling capacity and supply chain infrastructure, including a factory extension to house a new bottling line at the company’s Blackford site in Perthshire.

The firm’s products includes Highland Spring, Speyside Glenlivet, Hydr8 and a range of private label flavoured and unflavoured waters.

“We have great confidence in the strength of the category and our investment plans to drive sustainable growth,” said Montgomery.

“The UK bottled water market has grown over 30% since 2012, with growth approaching double digits on an annual basis.

“In 2015, the market grew by just over 9%, representing the main driver of growth in the total soft drinks category …

“We finished 2015 as the market leader and 2016 is forecast to be another year of near double-digit growth.

“We have had a strong summer and Highland Spring Group is experiencing a current MAT (moving annual total)growth of 9%, versus the previous 12 months.

“This has contributed to the business recently meeting its volume turnover target of 500 million litres – another major milestone in the history of Highland Spring Group – one that we celebrated with all employees.

“By 2020, the plain water market will reach in excess of 4 billion litres. We expect one in four soft drinks consumed in the UK will be bottled water.

“This is good news for the nation’s health and we will remain focused on investing back into the business to maintain our position as the UK’s leading supplier of natural source waters.

“This will ensure we are perfectly placed to meet demand for bottled water as consumers continue to switch from sugary soft drinks to healthier hydration choices.

“Longer term, this will be a contributing factor towards making bottled water an even bigger player in the broader 14.8 billion litre UK soft drinks industry.”