Britvic plc (LSE: BVIC) is a British producer of soft drinks based in Hemel Hempstead. It is the number two soft drinks producer (by volume and retail sales value) in the United Kingdom. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. It produces soft drinks under its own name and holds the licence to sell others such as Pepsi in the UK.
The company was founded in the mid-nineteenth century in Chelmsford as the British Vitamin Products Company. It started producing fruit juices in 1938 and started marketing them under the Britvic name in 1949.
Acquired by Showerings of Shepton Mallet, and subsequently a division of Allied Breweries from 1968, the company changed its name to Britvic in 1971. In 1986 it merged with Canada Dry Rawlings and acquired the R. White's Lemonade brand. It acquired Tango and the Corona brand from Beechams in 1987 and since that year it has also owned the UK franchise for Pepsi and 7 Up. In 1995 it bought Robinson's from Reckitt & Colman.
In December 2005 the Company underwent an initial public offering (IPO) allowing its main shareholders (InterContinental Hotels Group, Whitbread, Pernod Ricard) to realise their investments.
In May 2007 the Company went on to buy the soft drinks and distribution businesses of Ireland's Cantrell & Cochrane (C&C) for £169.5m.
On 14 November 2012 the company announced plans to merge with Scotland's soft drink's producer A.G. Barr, whose brands include Irn Bru, Tizer and D'n'B, which would have created one of Europe's largest soft drinks companies. The merger was put into serious doubt after the Office of Fair Trading referred the merger to the Competition Commission. On 11 July 2013, AG Barr Chairman Ronnie Hanna announced that the proposed merger of Britvic and AG Barr had been abandoned. Hanna said: "While we are disappointed that the opportunity to create significant value for both sets of shareholders has been rejected, the Board of AG Barr has every reason to be confident of its position as a stand-alone company."
Although most of its operations are concentrated in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Company's international arm is expanding and it now exports to over 50 countries. Corporate headquarters moved from Chelmsford, Essex to Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire in March 2012. There are regional offices in Dublin and France.
The company owns a number of leading brands in the UK including Britvic itself, R. White's Lemonade, Tango, Robinson's and J2O – as well as being the licensed bottler for PepsiCo products within the UK. In 2008 Britvic launched Gatorade in the UK, after securing the rights to do so from PepsiCo. In May 2010, Britvic launched a UK exclusive drink called Mountain Dew Energy. It tastes similar to its American counterpart, but has a higher caffeine and sugar content. The latter giving it a slightly more sherberty taste.
After their failed IPO C&C's sold their soft drink brands to Britvic, resulting in the company now owning a number of leading brands in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, including, Ballygowan water, Britvic, Cidona, MiWadi, and Energise Sport as well as the rights to Pepsi and 7 Up brands in the territory through its bottling agreements with PepsiCo.
Britvic bought Fruité Enterprises in May 2010 for £298 million. It has since renamed the business Britvic France. It is mainly a fruit juice business, unlike the GB&I businesses that focus on soft drinks.
Current brands are as follows:
Carbonated soft drinksTango
Red Devil Energy Drink
Really Wild Drinks Company
Idris Ginger Beer
R. White's Lemonade
TK (Taylor Keith) Lemonade (Republic of Ireland)
C&C Lemonade (Northern Ireland)
OtherEnergizer Sport (Ireland)
Jus de Fruits (France)
Licensed from PepsiCo7 UP
Lipton Ice Tea
Sobe Pure Rush
Sobe V Water
Mountain Dew Energy
Gatorade (Great Britain)