Will Carlsberg have a thirst for Britvic’s Irish soft drinks?

Britvic Ireland owns Ballygowan water, the Club range of soft drinks, MiWadi and TK Lemonade among others

Britvic Ireland managing director Kevin Donnelly with a range of its soft drinks brands here. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

It looks like a case of third time lucky for Danish brewer Carlsberg in its attempt to acquire British soft drinks company Britvic, which has a substantial portfolio of thirst-quenching Irish brands.

After two failed runs at Britvic, an offer valued at £3.3 billion (€3.9 billion) has been accepted by the board of the UK business. It gives Carlsberg exposure to a long list of non-alcoholic beverages, and would bring attractive synergies and cost savings of £100 million over five years.

Carlsberg is also attracted by Britvic’s bottling deal with PepsiCo for the UK and Irish markets. The Danish company already has similar deals with PepsiCo in Europe and Asia.

What will this mean for the Irish business?


“As Carlsberg has no local company presence in Ireland, it intends to retain Britvic Ireland on an as-is basis,” the official announcement on the proposed transaction said.

That’s positive for the Irish division. which had 387 employees and posted pretax profits of €13.3 million on revenues of €161 million for the year to the end of September 2022, according to its latest set of statutory accounts filed here. Both of those figures were up on the previous year as the company continued its recovery post the pandemic lockdowns.

The Irish business is led by managing director Kevin Donnelly, who is a member of the plc’s executive leadership team.

At group level, Britvic Ireland is lumped in with France in its international unit. In a trading update on Monday, Britvic said international revenues had declined by 6.6 per cent year on year. “Growth in Ireland was offset by a decline in France and other international markets,” it added.

Britvic Ireland owns Ballygowan water, the Club range of soft drinks, MiWadi and TK Lemonade among others. It also distributes Pepsi, 7-Up and other brands under a deal with PepsiCo that runs until 2025.

The attraction of Carlsberg for Britvic staff is that it has deeper pockets and greater global reach. It just remains to be seen if Carlsberg’s thirst for a deal with the British drinks group will extend in the longer term to the Irish soft drinks portfolio.