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A.G. Barr First-Half Net Income Rises 12% on Sales, Taxes

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Sept. 27 (Bloomberg) -- A.G. Barr Plc, whose Irn-Bru soda outsells Coca-Cola in Scotland, said fiscal first-half profit rose 12 percent as revenue increased and tax charges fell.

Net income in the six months ended July 30 rose to 12.5 million pounds ($19.5 million), or 32.4 pence a share, from 11.2 million pounds, or 29 pence, a year earlier, the Cumbernauld, Scotland-based company said in a statement to today. Revenue rose 4 percent to 124 million pounds.

“This growth was achieved in a highly competitive market place and against very demanding prior-year comparative sales growth of almost 14 percent,” Chief Executive Officer Roger White said in the statement. “Against this backdrop, trading remains in line with market expectations and we remain cautiously optimistic for the second half.”

Barr, which also owns the Tizer, Ka and Strathmore Water brands, plans to invest in a production site in the south of England to boost sales outside Scotland and northern England. It expects to make a decision by the end of year, White said in an interview today.

Sales of Irn-Bru were little changed in Scotland in the first half “after the worst summer for 100 years,” White said today. “We are pretty happy with that given the market context and the weather in that geography.”

The sales increase compared with a 14 percent rise a year earlier. Second-half revenue last year rose 6.7 percent.

“Sales in the first few weeks of the second half are in line with our plans and give us confidence that we will meet our full year expectations assuming no significant adverse changes in the market,” Barr said in the statement.

The shares rose as much 3.2 percent in London trading to the highest since Aug. 18. They were up 22 pence, or 1.9 percent, to 1,210 pence at 10:49 a.m., extending this year’s gain to 11 percent.

Barr raised its first-half dividend 8.1 percent to 7.3 pence a share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Woodifield in Edinburgh at pwoodifield@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net.

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