DCSIMG

Milton Keynes base secure despite company merger plan

Gazeley, a global developer of logistics warehouses and distribution parks, has announced the agreement of a major deal with AG Barr plc, the soft drinks manufacturer behind Irn-Bru, Tizer and Rubicon, to build a state of the art 265,000 sq ft warehouse and production plant at Magna Park Milton Keynes.

Gazeley, a global developer of logistics warehouses and distribution parks, has announced the agreement of a major deal with AG Barr plc, the soft drinks manufacturer behind Irn-Bru, Tizer and Rubicon, to build a state of the art 265,000 sq ft warehouse and production plant at Magna Park Milton Keynes.

Merger proposals involving a soft drinks company will not adversely affect the huge new base it is building in Milton Keynes, business chiefs have confirmed.

Indeed the plan by Britvic to join forces with AG Barr means the warehouse and factory in Magna Park will be a key strategic asset for the new £1.5billion giant that will be renamed Barr Britvic Soft Drinks.

Speaking to investors in London earlier this week, Roger White, the chief executive of IRN BRU makers AG Barr, praised the new Milton Keynes base as a “state of the art facility” and John Gibney, group finance director, at Britvic, said the firm’s presence in the new city offered “greater flexibility for the combined group.” A spokesman for Britvic confirmed that the Magna Park base holds a key strategic position in the new company’s set-up.

The newly merged company, which includes brands including Robinsons, Tango, J2O, Fruit Shoot and 7UP is looking to save £40 million each year by 2016. It plans to do this by saving money by cutting out duplications and so-called back office functions. It wants to use the money saved to invest in the business.

Industry watchers reckon up to 2016 between 350 and 500 jobs could go from the two companies which together currently employ 4,280 people.

The proposed merger has to be approved by both companies’ shareholders and by the Office of Fair Trading because of possible implications for customers in the soft drinks market. If the proposal passes those hurdles the merger could start in February 2013.

Roger White said the proposal was a “compelling and great opportunity” which has been contemplated for “many, many years”. The new company will have its operational base in Hemel Hempstead while its corporate HQ will be in Scotland.

 

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