Barr can weather competition chiefs’ probe - White
Roger White, AG Barr’s chief executive, played down the impact on the company if the £1.4 billion merger deal with Britvic is thrown out by regulators.
Pointing to the resilience of the latest full-year results despite the worst summer on record, the Irn-Bru maker’s boss said: “If it does not happen, it’s an opportunity lost and nothing more.
“We have got a terrific business that has delivered double-digit growth for a decade and there’s no reason why that won’t continue.”
However, he said both companies still believed the merger would “not result in a substantial lessening of competition” and would be able to convince the Competition Commission.
The Office of Fair Trading referred the merger to the Competition Commission in February, with examination of witnesses from the parties due next month and the Commission making public its initial findings in late May or early June.
White also pledged that the opening of AG Barr’s latest plant in Milton Keynes this summer would not lead to job losses at Cumbernauld where it employs about 400 including 80 headquarters staff.
Underlying profits rose 4.3 per cent to £35 million for the year to 26 January on sales up 6.6 per cent to £237.6m, beating the 2.9 per growth seen in the wider market. However, margins were slightly reduced due to the higher cost of raw materials.
Canaccord Genuity analyst Wayne Brown is optimistic of a successful outcome from the competition investigation.
“However, even as an independent company the outlook remains strong and we suspect the first half performance of this year will exceed expectations,” Brown added.
Shares in AG Barr closed up 19p or 3.7 per cent at 539.5p. Britvic was up 10.9p at 440p.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East