Up to 500 staff across both companies will be made redundant over the next three years after Britvic confirmed its £1.5 billion merger with AG Barr will go ahead.
The two companies admitted in a corporate statement that 8%-12% of the combined group’s 4,300 staff, mainly those in “corporate activity”, will go in a restructuring that aims to realize £35 million annual savings.
The merger, which will join brands such as struggling Britvic’s Fruit Shoot and Robinsons with Irn-Bru from Scotland’s AG Barr, will create one of Europe’s biggest soft drinks companies. It will occupy 14% of the UK soft drinks market.
Chief executive of AG Barr Roger White will assume the CEO’s job at the merged company. He confirmed the types of jobs likely to go will be back office and management, and said “What we creating here is something that will create strong growth over the long term.”
The new company’s name will be Barr Britvic Soft Drinks. Investors will hold shares in a 63% / 37% split in favour of Britvic shareholders.
Britvic has had a very troubled time, in the summer being forced to recall its Robinson Fruit Shoot bottles at a cost of £25 million due to a cap fault.
AG Barr, based in Glasgow, was founded in 1875 and began selling Irn-Bru more than a century ago. The drink’s famous advertising strapline was “Made in Scotland from girders”.
Robinsons has been a popular British drinks brand for decades and has run a sponsorship deal with the Wimbledon tennis tournament for most of its life. It was bought by Britvic in 1995.