Cott Corporation has announced that it will close its Columbus, Ohio manufacturing plant in March 2006 - terminating approximately 70 jobs.

Production from the plant will be reallocated to other facilities.

The closure is in line with the company's North American realignment plan, announced in September, to realign the management of Cott's Canadian and US businesses to a North American basis.

Cott Corporation CEO John Sheppard said: "While it is never easy to take decisions that affect our employees in this way, closing our Ohio facility is part of our plan to improve operating income and help us bring our production capacity more closely in line with the needs of our customers in a rapidly changing beverage market."

The closure is expected to result in pre-tax charges of around US$13m, with US$10m relating to asset impairments and the remainder to contract termination and severance costs.

The majority of these charges is expected to be taken in 2005 as part of the US$60-80m of total anticipated charges previously announced in connection with the realignment plan.