Seven-Up losses pile up as finance charges skyrocket

Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc (“SBC”), the bottler of PepsiCo brands of soft drinks in the country, on Friday reported a net loss of N2.5bn for the first quarter of its 2017/2018 financial year (Apr – Jun) despite recording nearly 20% sales growth of N31bn from N27bn in the previous year. The loss adds to the company’s woes which had reported a N10.7bn loss in June for the 2016/2017 financial year.

The company cited skyrocketing net finance cost as the reason for the first quarter loss. Finance charges rose a record 85% to N1.8bn, from N961m in the same period a year ago.

The firm has seen its fortunes erode due to higher input costs, driven by foreign currency headwinds which have made cost of imported raw materials expensive. Naira devaluation and inflation also weighed on the company’s earnings. Cost of sales rose 35% in the period to N27bn, from N19.7bn in 2016.

Seven-Up has also faced competition from other soft drinks and juice manufacturers, particularly rival Coca-Cola which has been able to pass on costs induced by inflation to consumers in the form of price increases. While all soft drinks and juice manufacturers raised their prices earlier in the year, Seven-Up Bottling recently made a promotional announcement in the “No Shakin’ Carry Go!” commercial that it was dropping the price of its 50cl PET bottle back to N100 retail to boost sales.

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