Barr shares get respite despite weak first half

Shares of Cumbernauld-based Irn-Bru maker A.G. Barr got some respite on Tuesday after the firm stuck to its annual profit forecast despite what it called a “disappointing” first half of the year.

Barr said its first-half revenue fell to £122.5 million from £136.9 million and statutory profit before tax fell to £13.5 million compared to £18.2 million in the prior year.

But Barr’s shares rose about 5% as it declared: “Despite continuing economic uncertainty we expect to meet the revised profit expectations communicated in July.”

Barr’s shares have struggled since July 16 when they plummeted 25% after the firm said it expected profit to fall 20% this year amid disappointing spring and early summer weather and trading challenges in its Rockstar energy and Rubicon juice drinks.

In the firm’s outlook on Tuesday, it added: “The first half of 2019 has been disappointing. 

“However, it was always expected to be a year of pricing transition for the business which would lead to elevated levels of risk. 

“We now have plans in place to address our specific brand related challenges and to ensure that the business is appropriately scaled to perform in the current market. 

“We are entering a period of less demanding trading comparisons and, as our new pricing establishes and our strong second half brand plans take effect, our focus is now on returning to long-term growth.”