Irn Bru makers AG Barr are in merger talks with Britvic
Scottish News: AG Barr and Britvic merger deadline extended
by Róisín O’Brien
Soft drink companies AG Barr and Britvic now have until November 28 instead of October 31 to seal a merger.
The date was changed after the companies stated their ongoing talks were now at “an advanced stage”. This is the second extension to have been granted to the talks, the previous postponed the deadline until the 31st October.
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AG Barr had previously announced in June an extension of their deal with American brand Rockstar Inc. for another 15 years, a partnership that has been in place since 2007. However, the Irn Bru producers approached Britivic on the 5th of September about a potential collaboration.
Last month, AG Barr had reported a drop in profits, despite sales growth in the months up to July. The company described the soft drinks market as “intense”, partly due to major events like the 2012 Olympic Games. AG Barr also documented a financial hit in operating margins, due to increased raw material costs, particularly sugar.
Britvic, on the other hand, stated that it was confident about meeting its full year targets, despite a drop of 2% in its annual revenues due to a recall of faulty caps in its Fruit Shoot drinks. It also cited poor weather as a reason for poorer trading over the summer.
Chief Executive Paul Moody stated: "Following the Fruit Shoot recall in July, we have been focused on returning supply to normalised levels…A further key brand priority has been to ensure that we build and realise the value of our emerging US Fruit Shoot business."
The Cumberland based AG Barr said the merger could produce one of Europe’s leading soft drinks companies.
SNP welcomes deadline extention
The extension of merger talks between AG Barr and Britvic until November 28 has been welcomed by local SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn.
Mr Hepburn has long called for clarity about the impact of any such merger would have on the workforce of AG Barr based in Cumbernauld, and it is now hoped that the extended talks may be able to offer just that.
Mr Hepburn has previously written to AG Barr and has pledged to continue his call for open and honest answers from AG Barr and Britvic, and any potential effect this may have on the future of jobs at the Cumbernauld site.
Mr Hepburn commented:
“The merger talks appear to be progressing and I hope that a further extension will allow AG Barr and Britvic time to fully explore the potential of keeping the company headquarters and production base in Cumbernauld.
“The employees of AG Barr in Cumbernauld, many of whom have worked for the company for a number of years, already have the relevant skills to enable them to excel at that location and as such should be viewed by AG Barr and Britvic as an invaluable asset which they should do their upmost to retain.”
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