StockMarketWire.com - Soft drinks maker Britvic said Thursday annual profits increased 5% even as the company had to contend with headwinds related to the 'sugar tax' and carbon dioxide shortage.

For the 12 months to ended 30 September, pre-tax profits rose 5% to £145.8m and total revenue increased 5.1% to £1.50bn.

The upbeat performance comes as the company sold over 2.4bn litres of soft drinks, up 1.6% on the previous year.

In Britvic’s GB unit, revenue increased by 4.9% while volume growth fell 1% as performance in the second half of the year was disrupted by carbon dioxide shortage.

Performance was also dragged down by weakness in France, where organic revenue declined 5.7%, driven by a 6.4% fall in volume.

The majority of the revenue decline in France was in private label sales, while branded revenue saw a modest decline, the company said.

'We have delivered a strong performance in a challenging environment, with good revenue, margin and earnings growth, said Simon Litherland, Chief Executive Officer.

'The investment in the transformational business capability programme is now nearing completion and is already delivering significant efficiency and commercial benefits. Free cash flow will increase materially in 2019 as capital spend falls back towards normal levels.'