Barr-Britvic merger recommendation expected

Roger White said there was no threat to jobs in Cumbernauld
Roger White said there was no threat to jobs in Cumbernauld
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AN INITIAL regulatory decision on AG Barr’s proposed £1.4 billion merger with Britvic is expected shortly, the Scottish drinks group confirmed today, as it posted market-beating revenue growth.

In a trading update to accompany its annual meeting in Glasgow, the maker of Irn-Bru said its total revenues grew 2.4 per cent in the 15 weeks to 12 May despite the cold spring – the coldest since 1962 – and significant sector price wars.

That compared with a flat overall soft drinks market according to research by the Nielsen retail consultancy. Barr, whose brands include Tizer, said the strategic attraction of the tie-up with Britvic “has not changed and the board will accordingly reconsider the transaction once the Competition Commission (CC) findings are available”.

Barr said that, in line with the published timetable, “we expect to receive notification of their provisional findings in early June”.

On trading since late January, the company said: “Our core brands continue to perform well despite the weather, economic challenges and significant increases in competitor promotional activity.”

Barr also said the planned opening of its new plant in Milton Keynes this summer was on track, with the installation of machinery now well advanced.

Chief executive Roger White has previously said that the commissioning of the site in the next eight weeks will not lead to job losses at Cumbernauld where the group employs 400.