Barr saw its H1 profits dented by the failed Britvic merger

Barr saw its H1 profits dented by the failed Britvic merger

AG Barr’s CEO has revealed his disappointment at the collapse of the Britvic merger, but argued that the deal was not essential for the Irn Bru producer’s future. 

Speaking to journalists following Barr’s H1 results today (23 September), Roger White said: “We put a year’s worth of work into it (the merger), so it was a little disappointing.” But he added: “It was an opportunity rather than a necessity.” 

The deal fell apart in July after Britvic rejected a sweetened offer from the Scottish group.

Meanwhile, White revealed that Barr was not in the running to acquire Ribena and Lucozade, which are being offloaded by GlaxoSmithKline to Japanese group Suntory. “They (the brands) never made it to the market,” he said. 

Asked whether Barr could now be an acquisition target for Suntory, as one analyst has suggested, White flagged that his company is publicly-listed, meaning speculation is always rife. But he noted: “There’s been a quite a lot of activity in the soft drinks market in the past 18 months, so whether that continues, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

White also dismissed calls for an extra tax on soft drinks in the UK. “We’ve already got a 20% tax on soft drinks - it’s called VAT,” he said. “It (a soft drinks tax) is not a concept that will get a lot of traction with consumers.”

Earlier the company revealed that it had seen a significant sales spike in July from the UK's hot weather, but the group's August and September performance has been “more average”.