Britvic posts income slump as virus curbs dent demand

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(Reuters) - British soft drinks maker Britvic on Thursday posted a near 22% slide in adjusted operating income for the year as coronavirus restrictions hurt demand at bars, restaurants, cinemas and other public places.

The company, whose brands include Tango, J2O, Fruit Shoot and Teisseire, has been grappling with a dramatic drop in demand in its out-of-home channels due to COVID-19 lockdowns, with an increase in at-home consumption failing to make up for that shortfall.

"We have started the new financial year with some form of restrictions on either trading and/or the movement of people in all our markets, and this will undoubtedly continue to affect performance," the company said.

Britvic said adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell to 165.8 million pounds for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, from 214.1 million pounds a year earlier..

The FTSE 250 company's shares, which have dropped 10.4% so far this year, were unchanged at Thursday's market open.

Britvic's results come as a stark contrast to that of Coca-Cola Co, which in October posted stellar quarterly results and said consumers were buying more sparkling soft drinks and juices from grocery stores and online.

(Reporting by Muvija and Jasmine I S in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)