500 staff – and Britvic chief – face axe in merger with AG Barr

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The Independent Online

Up to 500 staff will lose their jobs over the next three years after AG Barr's £1.5bn merger with struggling Britvic, the companies have admitted.

The deal, which brings together brands such as Irn-Bru, Rubicon, Fruit Shoot and Robinsons, will create one of Europe's biggest soft drinks companies, with a 14 per cent share of the UK market.

The £35m in annual savings pencilled in as a result of the deal will see 8-12 per cent of the companies' combined 4,300 staff lose their jobs.

AG Barr's chief executive, Roger White, who will lead the new company, said the jobs will go in "corporate activity" – likely back-office staff and management.

"What we are creating here is something that will create strong growth over the long term," he said.

The new company will be called Barr Britvic Soft Drinks, with current Britvic investors holding 63 per cent of the shares and AG Barr investors 37 per cent. The current Britvic chief executive, Paul Moody, will leave the group.

Britvic began in the mid-19th century as the British Vitamin Products Company, using the Britvic name from 1949. AG Barr was founded in Scotland in 1875 and began selling Irn-Bru more than a century ago.

The tie-up will help AG Barr's push into the South.