Soft drinks maker Britvic was confident about its prospects for 2012, stressing the resilience of soft drinks demand to tough economic conditions, as it announced plans to expand further into the U.S. market.

The company, which has businesses in the UK, France, Ireland and northern Europe, also revealed higher than expected full-year profit Wednesday.

It has made three major agreements, including one with Pepsi Beverage Company (PBV), a unit of drinks giant PepsiCo
, to widen distribution of its Fruit Shoot brand to six U.S. states.

As PBV...cover pretty much the whole of the US, we would hope and anticipate that as the brand performs strongly in those territories there will be an opportunity for us to continue that expansion into the U.S., chief executive Paul Moody told reporters.

Shares in Britvic, which owns the rights to sell Pepsi in Britain and Ireland, were little changed, up 0.83 percent at 11:07 a.m. The stock has risen in the past 3 months, but is still down more than 30 percent since December 2010.

Britain's second biggest soft drinks maker behind Coca-Cola Enterprises made an underlying pretax profit of 105.1 million pounds for the year to Oct 2., beating a forecast for 101.3 million pounds according to Thomson Reuters data.

The soft drinks market has demonstrated itself over the last three to four years as very resilient in the face of the economic turbulence, Moody said, adding that 2011 had been a year of unprecedented raw material inflation and difficult trading conditions.

As we look out to 2012, we see that remaining very challenging, but we remain cautiously confident about our prospects over the coming 12 months.

Total revenue for the company, whose brands include Robinsons, Tango, Drench, J2O and Fruit Shoot, rose 15.1 percent to 1.290 billion pounds for the year.

Britvic said difficult macroeconomic conditions and disappointing weather in Ireland had constrained overall growth.

The economic challenges in Ireland combined with a poor summer, continued to impact the Irish soft drinks market, which declined in volume and value, the company said in a statement.

The soft drinks maker raised its full-year dividend by 6 percent to 17.7 pence and predicted its pension funding partnership would be in place by the end of 2011.