Bottling groups Gerber Emig and Refresco have agreed a deal to merge, subject to regulatory approval. 

In a joint-announcement today (16 April), the companies said its shareholders have signed a contractual agreement that will lead to the two firms merging, pending approval from competition authorities. UK-based Gerber Emig and Netherlands-headquartered Refresco said the merger will create "a leading pan-European bottler of soft drinks and fruit juices to serve retail and branded customers". 

The name of the new group will be Refresco Gerber.

Andrew Biles, Gerber Emig's group chief executive, said: "The new group will be a logical combination for Gerber Emig and all stakeholders providing greater scale and an enhanced capability for industry innovation." 

Gerber Emig shareholders will own 30% of the shares in the new entity and Refresco shareholders will own a 70% stake.

Hans Roelofs, Refresco's CEO, said: “As one company, Refresco and Gerber Emig will be in a better position to follow its customers’ international growth and to address industry opportunities and challenges."

In 2010, private equity firm 3i bought a 20% stake in Refresco for EUR84m.

The merger is expected to be completed "before the end of summer 2013", the companies said.