UK soft drinks group AG Barr, producer of Irn-Bru, is to close its Mansfield site in early 2011 with the loss of around 100 jobs.

The Scottish Irn Bru maker said it plans to invest GBP8m (US$13.5m) - GBP10m over the next 12 months at its Cumbernauld site in Scotland in a bid to increase capacity there.

The investment would absorb all current PET packaged products from the Mansfield factory, the company said late last week.

AG Barr said it has entered into a consultation process with employees at the Mansfield site, where 98 employees will be affected, along with a "small number" of further employees.

The company said it has also proposed to commence discussions with third party logistics companies with a view to establishing a third party operated central distribution hub for the south of the country.

The proposal would mean ceasing its current in-house storage and distribution operations at the Mansfield site and the exit from existing Rubicon third party logistics operations.

AG Barr reported a 27% jump in net sales for its fiscal half-year last month, thanks to growing demand for signature brand Irn-Bru and the contribution of the Rubicon drinks business.

Net sales for the six months to the end of July rose by 27% to GBP104.7m (US$166m), compared to GBP82.4m in the same period of last year.