Jobs at risk as Britvic plans to close Norwich factory

Bottles of soft drinks made by Britvic sit on a conveyor belt at its bottling plant in London, in March, 2009.Reuters

Soft drinks giant Britvic plans to close its manufacturing site in Norwich which employs 242 people.

The company's Robinson's squash brand is made at the facility, but Britvic intends to transfer the production of it, and Fruit Shoot beverage brand, to existing production bases in London, Leeds and Rugby.

In a statement on Tuesday (3 October), the company said consultation is to begin shortly and if the proposals go ahead, the Norwich site will close towards the end of 2019.

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It added that employees affected by proposals would be offered a "comprehensive package of support" including redevelopment opportunities.

However, Britvic clarified that its three-year £240m investment into its UK manufacturing operations remains on track and would not be affected by the Norwich move.

Chief executive Simon Litherland said Norwich had been an important site for the business for many years, and the proposed closure "was in no way a reflection on the performance or commitment" of employees at the Norwich factory.

He added that the planned decision to close the site had not been taken lightly. The factory is co-owned by Unilever, and Brivic has informed the consumer giant of its decision.

In 2014, Britvic shuttered its Chelmsford factory, a site in the city the company was founded in 1954, and moved its headquarters to Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.

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