Revenues at Merseyside Vimto maker Nichols rose 14% to £165m in 2022 as the business continues its recovery from the pandemic. Tony McDonough reports
Vimto maker Nichols is reporting revenues of £165m for the 12 months to December 31, 2022 – 14% up on 2021.
Newton-le-Willows-based Nichols, which is listed on the stock exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, took a big hit during the pandemic due to loss of sales on its ‘out of home’ (OoH) market.
OoH refers to sales of its products in hospitality outlets such as cafes, bars and hotels. These were significantly impacted by pandemic lockdown and restrictions during 2020 and into 2021.
Consequently, for its 2021 full-year results Nichols announced an exceptional charge of £39.5m. £36.2m of the total is attributable to a non-cash impairment of OoH goodwill. When added to the bottom line this turned profit of £21.8m into a pre-tax loss of £17.7m.
In 2022 Nichols said it was carrying out a strategic review of its OoH operations. It will reveal the outcome of this on March 1 when it reveals its full-year results for 2022.
In a trading update on Wednesday, the company said OoH sales during 2022 soared 43% as its recovery gathered pace. However, in the second half of the year the year-on-year rise slowed to 5%, compared to a more normalised trading environment in the second half of 2021.
Despite ongoing inflationary pressures, which accelerated during the second half, the group expects to report full-year pre-tax profits to be in line with market expectations of around £25m.
Nichols sells Vimto and other soft drinks brands, including SLUSH PUPPiE Feel Good, Starslush, ICEE, Levi Roots and Sunkist, across the UK and more than 70 countries.
Vimto is particularly popular in the Muslim world during the holy month of Ramadan. It provides a quick boost of sugar-filled energy following the dawn ’til dusk fast.
With the cost-of-living crisis still in full swing, the company expects 2023 to be a “challenging year”. However it says as inflation falls, and via its own “cost efficiency and revenue management” measures, it expects further growth during the year.
Today Nichols also unveiled the appointment of Liz McMeikan as the its next non-executive chair. She will replace longstanding chair John Nichols who will be retiring later this year.
Ms McMeikan brings a wealth of consumer-focused public and private company experience to the board from a number of non-executive board roles. Her executive career has included roles with Colgate-Palmolive and Tesco.
She said: “Nichols plc is an outstanding business with a proud history and exciting future prospects. I am both delighted and honoured to be given this opportunity to take over as the company’s next chair.
“I look forward to joining the company and working closely with my new colleagues to contribute to the group’s continued, sustainable success.”