A.G. Barr, the Cumbernauld-based maker of Irn-Bru, Rubicon energy drinks, Funkin cocktail mixers and MOMA foods, announced the appointment of Euan Sutherland as its new chief executive officer with effect from May 1, 2024.
Sutherland was formerly CEO of Saga, Superdry and Co-op Group.
Barr also said in a trading update it expects full-year revenue to soar 26% to around £400 million and underlying pre-tax profit to rise 13.8% to £49.5 million.
“Euan has a wealth of consumer goods experience, having led major consumer-facing businesses through periods of significant growth, both in the UK and internationally,” said Barr.
“He has an excellent track record in delivering sustainable growth based on consumer insight, innovation and digital capability, while improving efficiency and profitability through major transformation programmes.
“He was most recently group CEO of Saga plc, the UK’s specialist products and service provider for people aged 50 and over, having previously been CEO of Superdry plc, The Co-op Group and Group COO of Kingfisher plc.
“Euan has a background in global fast-moving consumer goods brands, including Mars and Coca-Cola, plus eight years on the board of Britvic plc as a non-executive director.
“As announced in August last year, Roger White will step down from the board at the end of April 2024 and will remain available until the end of July to support a smooth leadership transition as planned.”
A.G. Barr chair Mark Allen said: “It has been a great pleasure working with Roger, who has successfully led the business for over two decades and delivered significant value to shareholders, stakeholders and employees.
“We wish him well in the future.
“On behalf of the board, I am delighted that Euan is joining A.G. Barr.
“He has substantial experience across several consumer-facing businesses and will be a strong addition to the board.
“He is well placed to lead A.G. Barr through the next exciting phase of its development and to ensure the continued long term success of the business.”
Sutherland said: “I am very excited to join A.G. Barr, which has a unique heritage, strong culture and exceptional brands.
“I look forward to working with the board and the wider business to continue to deliver significant value to shareholders, stakeholders and employees for the long term.”
In its trading update, Barr said: “We are pleased to report an anticipated strong revenue and profit performance in respect of the full year ended 28 January 2024.
“Revenue is expected to be c.£400m, representing c.26% year-on-year growth and c.7.6% on a like-for-like basis, excluding the contribution from the Boost Drinks business acquired in December 2022.
“Adjusted profit before tax is now expected to be c.£49.5m, up 13.8% on the prior year (2022/23 : £43.5m) and slightly ahead of previous market expectations.
“Despite the wet summer weather which impacted Q3 market conditions, our positive underlying brand momentum ensured a strong H2 group performance …
“We continue to experience cost inflation albeit at a less significant level than in the prior year.
“Our supply chain capital investment programme is on track supporting the in-sourcing of the Boost and Rio brands.
“The associated operational leverage and synergy benefits are supporting the acceleration of our margin rebuild programme.”
White said: “All our teams across the group have worked hard to deliver an excellent overall performance.
“This has been supported by continued brand investment, strong execution of our sales plans and progress across our supply chain improvement programme.
“We have positive momentum behind our brands and business as we enter the new financial year.
“This strong trading performance, coupled with the benefits already being delivered by our margin rebuild programme, has ensured we close the year with a strong profit performance and confidence in the Group’s long-term growth strategy.”
Aarin Chiekrie, equity analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown: “The Irn-Bru maker delivered a sweet set of numbers in today’s full-year trading update.
“A full year’s contribution from the recently acquired energy drink brand gave revenue a welcome ‘Boost’, helping fuel strong growth on the top line.
“Barr’s other core brands, like Rubicon, Funkin Cocktails and MOMA, also contributed positively to a strong year for the group.
“Some of these brands are being leveraged to spin out new products too. Rubicon’s name’s been put on a new energy drink to sit alongside the PWR-BRU line, which should help to capture more of the growing energy drinks market.
“Cost inflation has eased from the highs of the previous year, but still remains a thorn in the group’s side.
“Heading into the new year, Barr’s focus remains on its investment plans which are aimed at ramping up production in order to increase efficiencies across its brands.
“This should help to grow margins over the medium term, but in the short term, while this investment’s taking place, margins are likely to remain under pressure.
“Succession plans at the top have been laid out, with Euan Sutherland being named as the future CEO.
“He has previous CEO experience at other major firms such as Saga, Superdry and The Co-op Group.
“He will replace the outgoing Roger White on 1 May 2024, who has stood at the helm of Barr for more than 20 years.”