Brita’s Professional’s division recorded a 2% increase in revenues last year – ending the period “only slightly” behind its sales target after suffering the blow of losing a large customer.
The Oxfordshire-based company’s consumer arm accounts for the majority of its business and is famous for supplying water jugs, filters and bottles to domestic customers.
But it also has a significant B2B operation specialising in the sale of professional filters used in coffee machines, combi ovens and vending machines.
Accounts filed with Companies House this week show the company posted a healthy 13% growth in revenue to £50.4m for the 12 months to 31 December 2018. Operating profit grew 10% to £3.6m.
Sales from the Professional division increased by 2.4% year-on-year, with the growth broadly based across the different B2B customer segments, according to the report.
Referencing the performance, the report stated: “Despite a strong start to the year for the Professional filter business the loss of a larger customer meant the business performed well to end only slightly behind the revenue plan for the full year.”
Directors described 2018 as a “calmer” year in comparison to 2017, when the year was “disrupted” by the after-effects of the Brexit vote and a realignment of its business strategy cross Europe.
The company has put in place plans to minimise any disruption to UK supply caused by Brexit by building inventories in the early months of 2019.
“The directors believe these measures are adequate to achieve continuity of supply to the UK market barring a very protracted Brexit process combined with extreme friction at the UK border following Brexit.”
Additionally, the company has a £4m facility with its German parent company and this has been extended to £6m until the end of July 2020 to cover the additional requirements of managing Brexit.
The maximum drawing in 2019 up to the signing of the accounts was £5.5m following a planned growth in inventory at the end of March 2019, when the UK was originally set to leave the European Union.
A further peak drawing is expected during November 2019 following a further stock build for the revised Brexit date of 31 October.
Looking ahead to future developments, the report stated: “The directors aim to continue the policies which have led to the company’s market leadership position and expect further growth in both divisions.
“In 2019 the company will continue to promote the health and environmental benefit of our products and to campaign for a reduction in the use of single-use plastic bottles by working closely with our key strategic partners.
“The Professional division will continue to look for further growth opportunities in coffee, catering and vending, providing water filtration solutions that add value to the end customer and consumer.”