Drinks company merger

ANGUS North MSP Nigel Don has sought reassurances that a merger between A. G. Barr and Britvic will not affect any workers at the Strathmore Water Division in Forfar.

The MSP for North Angus and the Mearns recently wrote to Roger White, CEO of A. G. Barr to find out more.

Commenting on the merger, Mr Don said: “We are very glad that the CEO of A.G. Barr will run the new merged company, however my constituents in Forfar need reassurances that their jobs are safe. While we are in the economic downturn and running up to the festive period, people need to know if they will have a job after Christmas.”

Mr Don received a letter from Roger A White, the CEO of A.G. Barr, in responses to seeking reassurances and it said: “I am bound by the takeover panel rules at present which expressly forbid any information being given beyond that which is made available to all.

“As such I cannot, at this early stage, give any further covenant regarding any sites or roles and the context in the wider merged business.”

Mr Don said: “I am looking forward to hearing from Roger White, when he can, as soon as possible.”

A spokesperson for A. G. Barr said: “The boards of A. G. Barr and Britvic are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended all-share merger of A. G. Barr and Britvic, which is to be implemented by way of a scheme of arrangement of Britvic.

“It is proposed that the Combined Entity will be called ‘Barr Britvic Soft Drinks plc.”

“The directors of A.G. Barr and Britvic believe the net reduction in Combined Group head count is likely to be in the range of eight to 12 per cent.

“The number of employees and locations affected will depend on the outcome of the integration planning and these changes will only come into effect as synergies are realised over the three years post completion.

“The merger will create one of the leading soft drinks companies in Europe, with annual sales of over £1.5 billion, a portfolio of strong brands and significant prospects for future growth.

“The combination has compelling commercial and industrial logic given the high level of complementarity between the two businesses in terms of brands, sales channel presence and geographic presence within the United Kingdom.

“The boards of A.G. Barr and Britvic believe that the Combined Group will possess an attractive portfolio of strong and differentiated brands which include Irn-Bru, Robinson’s Fruit Shoot, J20 and Rubicon. With its portfolio well represented in key sub-segments of the soft drinks market.

“The boards of A.G. Barr and Britvic believe that the Combined Group will be able to achieve recurring annual cost synergies of approximately £35 million through overhead savings, procurement savings and supply chain enhancements.”