Merrydown on the up after restructure

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage

Drinks group Merrydown is poised for acquisitions and new product launches after completing a shake-up of the business.Chief executive Nigel Freer...

Drinks group Merrydown is poised for acquisitions and new product launches after completing a shake-up of the business.

Chief executive Nigel Freer said it was considering buying both companies and brands to expand beyond its original cider business, including food products.

"The management has a successful track record in brand management and new production introductions in niche food and drink markets," he said.

New products are also being planned for next year, developed from its core Merrydown cider and Shloer soft drinks.

It has retained Pulse, which is in the shrinking white cider market, and is testing a brand extension with a higher alcohol content, Impulse 8.

"Increasingly next year we will be coming up with innovative ideas both for cider and other sectors," Freer said.

"It's companies like ours at the fringes that change markets, not the big boys who have to follow market trends."

The plans come after 15 months of restructuring of the business, which a year ago reported half-year losses of £1.68m.

It has confirmed the success of the shake-up by reporting pre-tax profits of £130,000, back in the black for the six months to September 30.

The number of product lines has been slashed from 240 to 55, which has temporarily knocked half-year turnover which slipped by nine per cent to £7.09m.

It was also hit by declining sales of Pulse, which it keeps because of steady demand in Scotland and the Midlands.

Freer said the turnaround would prepare it to launch a major drive to boost sales of its brands in the on-trade next year.

A partnership with Kent brewer Shepherd Neame has boosted sales in the South but it hopes to bring other regional brewers and pub operators on board.

Related topics: Beer, Cider

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