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Boost’s Leeds office will close as a result of the proposals

Irn-Bru owner AG Barr is slashing almost 200 jobs in a cost-cutting overhaul that will see the drinks producer change the way it supplies symbol operators and independents.

The group is proposing to switch the current direct to store delivery model at the Barr Direct division to an “enlarged and enhanced” field sales operation, with brands directly supplied through existing wholesale channels.

AG Barr is in consultation with 160 employees about the move, which could lead to the closure of factories in Moston, Wednesbury and Dagenham by the end of June. However, the group added that additional field sales roles would be created to support the new route to market.

The company is also planning to fully integrate the operations of energy drinks brand Boost, which it acquired in 2022. It is expected to result in the reduction of duplicated activities and access to the wider Barr Soft Drinks sales channels and organisation.

Boost’s Leeds office will close by the end of the year, resulting in redundancies for 35 staff.

“The proposals are subject to full and proper consultation with impacted employees over the coming months,” AG Barr said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange. “The company will do everything possible to support those affected throughout the process.”

Shares in AG Barr rose by more than 2% after the plans were announced yesterday afternoon.

Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell, said the cost-cutting measures “seemed to strike a chord with investors”.

“Streamlining the business makes sense, but it comes with a price,” she added. “Almost 200 jobs are set to go as the drinks maker looks to close several sites and integrate 2022 acquisition Boost Drinks more neatly into the organisation.

“The business has been able to pass on increased prices to consumers, lifting profits above expectations. But it’s a competitive market and what worked in the past might not be fit for the future as its direct to store model is facing the chop.”