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Refresco gets CMA nod for integration of Cott's bottling activities in UK

DBR Staff Writer Published 02 April 2018

Refresco has secured approval from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for the integration of Cott’s UK bottling activities.

Refresco completed the purchase of Cott's bottling activities on 30 January 2018 and integration of the two businesses started immediately in North America.

Earlier this year, the CMA had given a conditional approval for the deal, provided Refresco would sell its Aseptic-PET facility in Nelson, Lancashire to avoid a lack of competition in the bottling sector.

Following the condition, Refresco sold its Aseptic-PET facility to Sunmagic Juice.  

Refresco and Cott manufacture, package and distribute soft drinks for several brands, supermarkets and shops in the UK.

The transaction includes Cott’s North America, UK and Mexican operations excluding the RCI International division and its associated concentrate facility as well as the Aimia Foods division.

The CMA approval allows the start of the integration into one organization in the UK as well.

The CMA in an announcement said: “The CMA has accepted undertakings in lieu of reference for the acquisition by Refresco Group NV of the traditional beverages business of Cott Corporation Inc.”

"The merger between Refresco and Cott will therefore not be referred to phase two and the undertakings which have been signed by Refresco will come into effect from this date."

In early January, the CMA referred the merger to an in-depth investigation stating that shoppers could face higher prices due to this merger.

While, initial investigations did not find any concerns for competition, the regulator stated that the two companies use a special aseptic production process that enables them to produce preservative-free drinks.

The CMA stated that the merger could reduce competition in the manufacturing and packaging of certain juice drinks and may result in higher prices or compromise in quality standards.

Image: Refresco has completed acquisition of Cott’s North American and Mexican operations. Photo: Courtesy of REFRESCO GROUP.