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Nichols PLC 2018 - Trading Update

We are pleased to report that full year Group sales totalled £142.0m, an increase of 6.9% compared to the prior year.

This increase was driven by an excellent performance in our UK business where sales grew by 12.6% to £114.6m.

During the year, we celebrated the Vimto brand's 110th year and we are delighted to report that once again, the brand has significantly outperformed the UK soft drinks category and gained market share. Vimto sales increased by 12.9% during the year compared to the total UK soft drinks market growth of 7.4% (Nielsen MAT year to 1 December 2018).

Elsewhere in the UK, sales in the Out of Home channel increased by 15.1% compared to the prior year. This strong performance was driven by sales of both our dispensed soft drinks and frozen beverage products which reflects the significant investment in this part of our business over recent years.

In the international business, a strong sales performance in Africa during the second half of the year delivered full year growth of 6.5% in this region.

As anticipated in our 2017 Preliminary Results Statement (1 March 2018), sales to the Middle East were down on the prior year, due to the ongoing conflict in Yemen and the timing of shipments to Saudi Arabia. As a result, sales to the Middle East region totalled £9.6m (2017: £13.0m).  

The Group's total international sales were £27.4m (2017: £31.0m).     

In summary, the Board is very pleased with the 2018 Group sales performance and expects full year profit to be ahead of the prior year and at least in line with current market expectations*.

The Group's Preliminary results will be announced on 27 February 2019.

Nichols plc is an international soft drinks business with sales in over 85 countries, selling products in both the Still and Carbonate categories. The Group is home to the iconic Vimto brand which is popular in the UK and around the world, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. Other brands in its portfolio include Feel Good, Starslush, ICEE, Levi Roots and Sunkist.