Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 4°C

ESTD 1874 Search

East Anglia: Britvic and AG Barr defend merger following referral to the Competition Commission

11:53 14 February 2013

Britvic

Britvic's planned merger with AG Barr has been referred to the Competition Commission

SOFT drinks groups Britvic and AG Barr today vowed to fight an Office of Fair Trading claim that their merger could reduce competition in the industry.

shares

The companies’ proposed £1.4billion meger has been referred to the Competition Commission after the OFT concluded that the tie-up could result in higher prices.

However, Irn-Bru and Tizer manufacturer AG Barr and Britvic, which has factories in Chelmsford and Norwich and owns brands including Robinson’s and Tango, said today they would attempt to demonstrate to the commission that there would be no substantial lessening of competition.

The announcement from the OFT shocked Britvic’s chairman Gerald Corbett, who said: “If this is industrial policy, I am a Frenchman.

“This is about two British companies getting together to take on Coca-Cola. The winners today are cracking open bottles of champagne at Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia.”

The OFT ruling means the merger deal between AG Barr and Britvic has lapsed, but the companies said that if clearance was received from the Competition Commission the boards would reconsider a tie-up.

Announcing its decision, the OFT said AG Barr and Britvic were two of the three main players in the UK soft drinks market and their merger raised concerns that it could reduce competition between some of their brands.

Amelia Fletcher, OFT chief economist and decision maker in this case, said: “The soft drinks industry is an important one for many consumers in Great Britain. People spend over £9bn each year on these drinks.

“This merger will see the UK market reduce from three to two main players. Our investigation has identified competition concerns relating to this deal with respect to Barr’s IRN BRU and Orangina brands which could lead to higher prices for consumers.

‘In addition, we could not rule out the possibility of further competition concerns arising from combining the overall Britvic portfolio of soft drinks with the entire Barr portfolio. We are therefore referring the merger to the Competition Commission for an in-depth investigation.”

shares

0 comments

Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe.
Photo: Sainsbury's/PA Wire

The City will this week look for details of how Sainsbury’s plans to overhaul Argos when the supermarket posts its annual results next week, while trading at rival Morrisons and banking giant HSBC will also be in the spotlight.

Avanti supports CLIC Sargent charity

Networking group getting Muddy and wiggy for young cancer patients

Nick and Kim Hoare from Ivy Grange Farm near Halesworth who run a glamping site with five yurts.
Photo: Nick Butcher

A glamping firm hoping to banish memories of sodden sleeping bags and leaking tents is catching the eye of campers after an upmarket break.

Royal Bank of Scotland has reported a sharp increase in first quarter losses.

Royal Bank of Scotland has reported a first-quarter pre-tax loss of £968million, more than double last year’s figure of £446m.

Tom Boother is running from Land's End to John O'Groats in aid of EACH and Great Ormond Street. Marquis Suffolk is lending Tom a motorhome for him to sleep in during the challenge.

Tom’s charity challenge - running 816 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24