Canadian Manufacturing

Cott’s US$1.25B deal with Refresco raises concerns for U.K. competition regulator

The beverage manufacturing industry deal faces further scrutiny from the British watchdog

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TORONTO—Cott Corp.’s US$1.25-billion deal to sell its beverage manufacturing business to Refresco has raised concerns for the United Kingdom Competition Markets Authority.

The company says Refresco has been informed by the regulator that the deal raises potential competition concerns regarding juice drinks in PET using an aseptic production process that allows them to be sold preservative-free without refrigeration.

In the United Kingdom, the combined company produces these products in two factories, Bridgwater (Refresco) and Nelson (Cott).

Cott says Refresco is examining the decision and is willing to offer suitable remedies and will co-operate with the regulator to address the concerns.

Refresco is an independent bottler of soft drinks and fruit juices for retailers and brands with production in Europe and the United States.

Cott has said the sale of its traditional drink manufacturing business will help position it to better grow its water, coffee, tea and filtration businesses both organically and with acquisitions.

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