BRITVIC'S planned merger with a Scottish drinks firm was in doubt last night after the company's chairman suggested that the planned deal was no longer required.
Speaking after the UK competition commission had provisionally cleared the merger of Britvic and AG Barr, which makes Irn Bru, Britvic's chairman Gerald Corbett appeared to cast doubt on whether Britvic would proceed with the deal.
Britvic "is in a different place to last summer when the terms of the merger were agreed", he said. "The cost savings from merging are less, we are performing better, we have new management and a new strategy to deliver good growth."
Mr Corbett added that the board would now "reflect" on these considerations ahead of the expected final decision from the commission in August.
Those words suggest deepening misgivings within Britvic since the two companies revealed plans to merge last November.
Since then, Britvic has radically overhauled its operations, announcing plans to lay off more than 10pc of its workforce in the UK and shifting much of its production to Dublin.
Shares in Britvic were down 2.8pc in London by the end of the day, trading at 486.5 pence. They are up nearly 60pc in the past year.