Friday 20 April 2018

Britvic lukewarm on merger with AG Barr despite approval

Britvic employs more than 500 staff in Dublin and Thurles
Britvic employs more than 500 staff in Dublin and Thurles
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

BRITVIC remains lukewarm on a proposed merger with Scotland's AG Barr, even after the Competition Commission formally approved a possible deal.

The Commission gave the go-ahead to a possible deal yesterday, some eight months after the authorities had blocked the original merger plan.

Irn Bru owner AG Barr has 21 days to make a new bid, however Britvic is much cooler on the prospect of the deal now.

Britvic, which employs some 550 staff in Dublin and Thurles, has restructured its business substantially, taking several operations and transferring them to Ireland, and laying off more than 10pc of its UK staff.

Last month company chairman Gerald Corbett said the business was in a "much different place" to when the merger plans had originally been mooted, and he maintained that sceptical tone yesterday.

"The merger lapsed in February when the deal was referred to the Competition Commission," he said. "We would obviously consider any proposal tabled in the interests of shareholders.

"However, Britvic is in a very different position to last summer when the merger was agreed. We have a new chief executive in Simon Litherland, who has done a fantastic job in implementing his new plan for Britvic," he added.

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