Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 6°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

A large police cordon around the Tesco Extra store in Great Yarmouth.

Picture: James Bass

A Tesco Extra in Great Yarmouth was evacuated and searched by bomb disposal crews following a hoax call.

The White Horse pub in Sudbury is selling Zebra, Camel and Bison at its special steak night

While squirrel has been popping up on the menu of adventurous restaurants across Suffolk in recent months, it appears that the people of Sudbury have even more exotic tastes.

Fish and chip shop blaze in Sible Hedingham

Two people were treated for smoke inhalation after a fire at a fish and chip shop in Sible Hedingham.

Sam Smith

Tickets for Sam Smith’s highly-anticipated show at Thetford Forest sold out in less than three quarters of an hour today.

The MSC Oscar en route in the North Sea to its next port of call.

Hundreds of ship-spotters are expected to line the shore as the Port of Felixstowe welcomes the world’s largest container ship on Monday – just two months after the last holder of the title sailed into the harbour.

Tawny owl

Two men who were suspected by police of being responsible for the illegal trapping and killing of a tawny owl in west Suffolk will not be charged.

The Causeway in Hitcham

Hundreds of pounds in cash and jewellery were stolen from a home in Hitcham.

All Star Wrestling at the Corn Exchange

It might be ‘fake’ - but you can’t say it’s not fun.

Fire fighters tackle tractor blaze

Fire fighters were called to a tractor that was ablaze in a field in Pettistree.

Temporary chief constable Gareth Wilson and police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore

Suffolk Constabulary is pledging to support a national campaign aimed at promoting trust, integration and cohesion within communities.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages