Supermarket price wars and the impending sugar tax don't present an ideal environment for Vimto maker Nichols (NICL). Fortunately, the soft drinks company appears to have a decent handle on the situation, thanks to shrewd acquisitions, international growth and rising sales of higher-margin beverages.
At 7 per cent, Nichols' UK revenue growth easily surpassed the 1 per cent posted by the rest of the market. Leading the way was the resilient Vimto brand and new contributions from Noisy, acquired last January. The latter's frozen slush and shake drinks provided a welcome boost to Nichols' increasingly important out-of-home division. Together with 14 per cent revenue growth from non-fizzy Vimto, this helped to trigger a 9 per cent rise in group operating profit to £30.3m.