Drinks firm Norbev loses its fizz in swing from profit to loss

Ballymena soft drinks manufacturer Norbev swung from profit to loss in 2019
Gary McDonald Business Editor

BALLYMENA soft drinks manufacturer Norbev lost some of its fizz in the last trading year as its sales declined and it swung from a small profits to a £1.6 million loss.

Latest figures filed at Companies House show turnover in the 2019 calendar year fell back from £21.9 million to £20.3 million.

And from a profit of £8,335 in 2018, Norbev swung to a loss of £1.64 million, while its assets dipped from £5.34m to £3.69m.

The firm's payroll shrunk too, with worker numbers cut from 144 to 133, with the wages bill in turn reducing slightly to £4.3m.

Norbev was set up a century ago by the grandfather of current owner James Harkness as Braid Mineral Water, initially selling lemonade from a handcart.

The company blends and bottles drinks for customers ranging from Coca-Cola to pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, which also makes Lucozade, and it exports to the Republic and the Netherlands as well as to America.

Meanwhile the holding company for a number of firms involved in Northern Ireland's drinks trade, Golf Holdings, has seen profits jump more than 60 per cent.

The company, which owns Winemark and a number of other hospitality subsidiaries, grew operating profits to £948,700 in 2019 against £561,500 a year earlier.

The firm, run by the Hunt family, has 52 employees, with a wages bill of nearly £4.4m. The salary package for its highest paid director was £1,384,602.

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