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UK/IRELAND: Britvic to close three sites, cut jobs in shake-up

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Britvic has announced plans to close three sites and merge its UK and Ireland units, as the company ups its focus on international markets.

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The company plans to shut its Chelmsford and Huddersfield factories by March next year, it said today (22 May) as it reported a rise in first-half profits. It will also close its warehouse in Belfast by the end of 2013.

The merger of the group's UK and Ireland units will create a "single leadership team", the company said.

The changes will result in anticipated job losses of 300 to 400 people, a Britvic spokesperson told just drinks. This represents around 10% to 15% of the company's headcount. 

Britvic said the measures will result in GBP30m (US$45.6m) of annual cost savings by 2016.

Chief executive Simon Litherland, who replaced Paul Moody in February this year, said the changes are intended to "generate stronger performance in our core markets and accelerate the increasingly attractive international opportunities". 

He added: "From the savings we will ramp up our incremental investment against the international business to GBP10m per annum by 2015, to realise the opportunties faster."

On Britvic's proposed merger with AG Barr, it noted that a decision by the Competition Commission is due in July. Chairman Gerald Corbett said: "The board will then decide, in light of the Competition Commission’s decision, whether a transaction on the right terms with appropriate management and governance arrangements, can be consummated in the interests of shareholders."

Last year, the company lost an estimated GBP25m in profits due to the UK recall of its Fruit Shoot product over a faulty cap design. 


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