Vimto maker increases annual sales and profits at home and abroad

John Nichols

Vimto maker Nichols maintained momentum with improved annual revenues and profits.

The Newton-le-Willows group published results for the year to December 31, 2019, that showed a 3.5% increase in revenues, of £147m, while pre-tax profits rose by 2.1% to £32.4m.

A final dividend of 28p per share represents a 4.5% improvement on the same period last year.

Non-executive chairman, John Nichols, said: “I am pleased to report on a year of further progress during which Nichols achieved continued revenue growth in both our international and UK businesses.

“As a result, the group delivered year-on-year increases in profit before tax and earnings per share and we are today proposing a final dividend of 28 pence per share, resulting in a 6% increase in the full year dividend.

“The group’s performance demonstrates the strength of our diversified business model, which provides a strong platform to deliver continued growth.”

He said the performance was delivered against “challenging market conditions “.

UK sales grew by 2.5% to £117.5m.

Within the UK business, Vimto brand sales performed well, increasing by 0.8% against very strong prior year comparatives of 12.9%.

This performance was primarily driven by the ‘still’ category where sales of Vimto dilutes grew by 15% and continued to gain market share.

Elsewhere in the UK business, Out of Home sales increased by eight per cent to £45.5m and now contribute 31% of group revenue.

This increase was largely driven by the acquisition of one of the group’s post mix and coffee distributors, Adrian Mecklenburgh, and the growth of frozen beverages into the cinema channel.

The continued growth in Out of Home demonstrates the diversified strategy and is a result of the significant investment in this part of the group’s business over recent years.

International sales grew by 7.5% to £29.5m.

In the African markets, revenues were £13m compared with £13.6m in the prior year. Sales to the Middle East grew by 20.6% to £11.6m against softer prior year comparatives (2018: £9.6m).

As anticipated, this performance reflected a return to normal levels of concentrate sales during the year.

Within the region, Nichols achieved its best ever sales performance of the Vimto brand during Ramadan 2019.

Elsewhere in its international regions, there was good growth in the USA, which is primarily a stills market (+23.1% to £1.4m) and Europe, which is primarily a carbonate market (+5.2% to £3.3m).