refresco warehouse

The Competition & Markets Authority has accepted bottling giant Refresco’s offer to address its concerns about its $1.25bn (£935m) acquisition of fellow bottling firm Cott.

Refresco and Cott completed their merger to create the world’s largest independent bottler for retailers and leading brands across Europe and North America on 30 January.

The CMA’s approval follows the sale of the Cott’s aseptic PET facility at in Nelson, Lancashire, to Sunmagic Juices.

The competition authority originally announced the launch of a merger inquiry at the end of October 2017. It ruled in the new year that the deal could result in higher prices for some supermarkets and leading household brands.

It warned the merger would be referred for a phase 2 investigation unless acceptable undertakings to address the concerns were made.

The CMA provisionally accepted Refresco’s offer mid-January to sell the facility. It is the only UK-based Cott facility to use a particular aseptic production process that enables juices to be sold preservative-free and without refrigeration.

Its latest categorical acceptance means the CMA will not refer the merger for an in-depth investigation.