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Britvic hit across the board by coronavirus restrictions

The drinks producer confirmed the impact on earnings has been £12-18mln per month as announced in March

Britvic PLC - Britvic expects improved trading as lockdowns are lifted

Britvic PLC (LON:BVIC) said it has seen volatile sales across all its channels due to the coronavirus outbreak with with out-of-home adversely impacted by trading restrictions and the At-Home business affected by changing consumption patterns. 

The soft drinks producer confirmed the impact on earnings has been £12-18mln per month as announced in March, but expects this will improve as the economy reopens.

READ: Britvic dividend in doubt as it forecasts £18mln hit to monthly earnings from coronavirus crisis

The hardest hit areas have been in the UK and Ireland, where exposure to the out-of-home channel (such as shops and restaurants) is higher than in France or Brazil.

The Robinsons fruit juice maker said all factories are working bar one in Ireland but discretionary spending such as advertising and promotion has been cut.

Britvic added the lockdown has had an adverse impact on Fruit Shoot sales as it is widely consumed both out-of-home and for at-home socialising occasions, while J2O and premium brands, London Essence Company and Mathieu Teisseire, are also on-trade focused, 

"Across all markets we have experienced the closure of hotels, bars and restaurants and we anticipate that this will continue to hold back growth for the foreseeable future," it said.

Net debt as of 31 March was £664mln, since when Britvic received £150mln from refinancing.

In the six months to 31 March, revenue rose 1% to £698mln with profit before tax up 16% to £53mln. An interim dividend was not declared to save cash during the crisis.

"While sales were broadly in line with our estimates, we were expecting Britvic to execute a mitigation strategy to remain free cash flow positive in the first half," analysts at Liberum commented.

"The company is deferring the decision on the dividend, which seems reasonable to us; however, we fear the surprises on tax and creditors could lead to temporary weakness in the shares."

Shares rose 2% to 731.5p on Wednesday morning.

--Adds analyst's comment, shares--

Quick facts: Britvic PLC

Price: 781 GBX

LSE:BVIC
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £2.08 billion
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