Business

Cott deal with Refresco raises concerns for UK competition regulator

Cott beverages CEO Jerry Fowden speaks during the company's AGM in Toronto on Tuesday May 4, 2010. Cott Corporation (NYSE: COT; TSX:BCB) today announced a progress update on the United Kingdom ("UK") Competition Markets Authority ("CMA") process in regards to its previously announced sale of its traditional beverage manufacturing business ("Cott Beverages") to Refresco (Euronext: RFRG) for USD $1.25 billion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Cott beverages CEO Jerry Fowden speaks during the company's AGM in Toronto on Tuesday May 4, 2010. Cott Corporation (NYSE: COT; TSX:BCB) today announced a progress update on the United Kingdom ("UK") Competition Markets Authority ("CMA") process in regards to its previously announced sale of its traditional beverage manufacturing business ("Cott Beverages") to Refresco (Euronext: RFRG) for USD $1.25 billion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

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 (TSX:BCB) 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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