The AG Barr and Britvic merger will cost up to 500 jobs

The AG Barr and Britvic merger will cost up to 500 jobs

The Britvic and AG Barr merger means up to 500 staff are expected to lose their jobs over the next three years.

As many as 12% of the companies' combined 4,000 employees will be made redundant, a Barr spokesperson told just-drinks today (14 November). Details of the cutbacks have not yet been decided, the spokesperson said.

“That will be validated over the next couple of months,” he said. “One can't yet say where or who.”

It is not yet clear if staff will transfer between the new entity's legal headquarters in Cumbernauld, Scotland and its operational HQ at Britvic's head offices in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. 

“They have a number of routes they can go down,” he said.

Barr and Britivc announced the merger today in a move that will create one of the biggest soft drinks companies in Europe, with an annual turnover of about GBP1.5bn (US$2.4bn).

In a conference call with investors, Barr CEO Roger White, who will take control of the merged venture, Barr Britvic Soft Drinks, said the firm will be “stronger than the sum of its parts”.

“By combining Britvic, a large-scale business with market-leading national brands, with AG Barr, a smaller, more agile business, we have the opportunity to take the best of both,” White said.

Commenting on the international benefits Barr will gain from the merger, White highlighted Britvic's “iconic local brands in France and Ireland as well as wider growth possibilities in the US”.

White added that Barr's customers have been “very supportive” of the merger, talks over which were announced in early September.

“They believe in the industrial logic that we've outline today and they believe that strong competitors and great brands belong together," he said.

Britvic CFO John Gibney, who will retain the same role for Barr Britvic, described the merger as “the most natural and compelling combination within the Euroepan soft drinks market today”.

He said the merger is expected to complete in February.

Gibney and White said they had nothing to add to talk about the recent Fruit Shoot recall, which cost Britvic up to GBP25m, however the Barr spokesperson said the recall had no bearing on the merger. He also said no other names for the new company were in consideration.

“(Barr Britvic Soft Drinks) is a mix of maintaining the heritage of the Barr name and the brand strength of the Britvic name,” he said.

To see just-drinks' full coverage of AG Barr and Britvic's proposed merger, click here.