Britvic to merge British and Irish operations

Soft drinks maker seeking to deliver annual savings of £30 million

British soft drinks maker Britvic will close two factories and a warehouse in the UK and roll out the Fruit Shoot brand in India as part of a new strategy announced with its interim results.

Proposals to deliver annual savings of £30 million pounds (€35.1 million) include closing two factories in Britain and a warehouse in Northern Ireland, as well as creating a combined British and Irish business unit under a single leadership team.

The company also reached an agreement with Narang Group for the national sales and distribution of Fruit Shoot in India, commencing mid-2014.

"We intend to change our operating model to generate stronger performance in our core markets and accelerate the increasingly attractive international opportunities," said chief executive Simon Litherland, who took over earlier this year.


The board proposed an interim dividend per share of 5.4 pence, ahead of last year by 1.9 per cent.

A merger between Britvic, which produces PepsiCo brands such as Pepsi, Mountain Dew Energy and 7UP in Britain and Ireland as well as products such as Robinsons squash and Tango, and AG Barr, maker of orange fizzy drink Irn-Bru, was agreed last November but has since been referred to Britain's anti-trust watchdog.

The Competition Commission is expected to announce its final decision by July and the board will then decide whether to go ahead with the deal, said chairman Gerald Corbett.