UK-based Nichols, best known for Vimto which is the most popular drink in the Middle East during Ramadan, on Friday said profit for 2011 was set to be significantly ahead of the previous year. Sales for the year to end-December 2011 rose 18 percent from 2010, it said. Analysts on average were expecting a full-year pretax profit of £16.8m ($26m), according to Thomson Reuters In a statement, the soft drinks firm said its \"strong and well-established international business\" continued to deliver significant year on year growth while its brands outperformed the soft drinks market in the UK. In an interim report published in August, Nichols said sales in the Middle East were up by 11 percent year-on-year. Annual sales of Vimto in the Middle East and North Africa have crossed the 30 million bottle mark for the first time, according to the drink\'s Saudi-based licence holder Aujan Industries. Driven by exceptional demand during the Holy Month of Ramadan, sales of Vimto are up by more than 20 percent year-on-year, the company said in a statement in September. Vimto has been the Middle East\'s number one Ramadan drink for more than 80 years, with sales traditionally spiking in the build-up to the Holy Month. This year. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE have been the top three markets for sales of Vimto so far, while other core markets have been showing double digit growth, Aujan added. Aujan Industries is one of the GCC’s largest independent drinks companies, with more than 2,500 employees and sales in 70 countries. Turnover this year is expected to top $850m.