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8 June, 2006 - 08:20 By Staff Reporter

French to put fizz in Britvic?

The soft drinks company Britvic, based in Chelmsford, was reported to be an international takeover target at the time of going to press, with French buyout firm PAI Partners reckoned to be the favourite.The soft drinks company Britvic, based in Chelmsford, was reported to be an international takeover target at the time of going to press, with French buyout firm PAI Partners reckoned to be the favourite.

It might have lost its fizz with current investors but remains an attractive acquisition proposition.

Britvic has struggled to come to terms with a sea change in its traditional market as consumers shun fizzy drinks in favour of healthier options.

The company, which owns Robinsons in Norwich and the Tango brand, has seen its share price fall heavily to 212.5p despite bid reports.

Britvic recently issued its third profits warning in as many months.

PAI’s current investments in the UK include Kwik-Fit and McVitie’s firm United Biscuits. It is thought to be one of several buyout specialists eyeing Britvic as a possible target. The company has a market valuation of around £437m.

Turnover fell 5.3 per cent to £323.5m for the six months to April 16 while operating profits dropped 18 per cent to £18.6m.

Britvic has tried to fight back with the launch of several new products in an attempt to take a share of the fast-growing water market.

There could also be a summer sales surge through subsidiary Pepsi’s promotional campaign for the World Cup and Robinsons’ largest ever advertising blitz during Wimbledon.

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