A government watchdog has warned the planned £935 million takeover of a global drinks business with its UK base in Leicestershire could lead to higher prices.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has referred Dutch-based Refresco’s takeover of Canadian soft drink giant Cott for a full investigation.
Cott Beverages, which has its UK headquarters in Kegworth, dates back to the 1950s and owns brands such as Old Jamaica ginger beer, Mr Freeze ice pops and energy drink brand Emerge.
Its UK turnover last year was more than £265 million.
Refresco works with brands such as Del Monte, Innocent, Sunny D and Um Bongo.
In the UK, Refresco and Cott make, pack and distribute soft drinks for a number of well-known brands, supermarkets and shops.
The CMA carried out an initial investigation into Refresco’s proposed purchase of Cott’s worldwide business last year.
It said each business produces a range of different soft drinks, which are then packaged in a variety of formats and sizes.
The initial investigation did not find any competition concerns for the most off the products they make
However, it said both pack some juice drinks using a special contamination-free process that allows them to be sold preservative-free and without refrigeration.
It said only one other competitor in the UK currently supplies third parties with juice drinks using the same aseptic production process.