More than 200 jobs at risk as Britvic announces plans to close Norwich factory

Britvic has announced plans to close its factory in Bracondale, Norwich, which employs 242 people. P

Britvic has announced plans to close its factory in Bracondale, Norwich, which employs 242 people. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Archant

Britvic has announced plans to close its factory in Norwich, putting more than 200 jobs at risk.

The production of Robinsons and Fruit Shoot which currently takes place at the plant in Bracondale will be transferred to other manufacturing sites in London, Leeds and Rugby.

In a statement the soft drinks giant said the 242 employees on site will be offered opportunities for work at other sites and services to help find alternative employment.

The plant is expected to close towards the end of 2019, following a consultation with affected staff. Employees at the Carrow Works site are still being informed of the proposals.

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Britvic chief executive Simon Litherland said the proposed changes would 'present significant productivity and efficiency savings' in its manufacturing operations and deliver 'environmental benefits'.

'Britvic is proud to be a British manufacturer and Norwich has been an important site for our business for many years.

'This is not a proposal that we make lightly and we know this is upsetting news for our colleagues,' he said.

READ MORE: Britvic, Unilever, Robinsons and Colman's: A history of Carrow Works factories

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'We are very grateful for the hard work and dedication of our employees at our Norwich factory and today's announcement is in no way a reflection on their performance or commitment.

'No decisions will be made prior to full and proper consultation with employees and our focus is on ensuring we offer our colleagues on-going support and assistance throughout this difficult time.'

Maker of Colman's mustard Unilever, which co-owns the site with Britvic, has been informed of the proposals and has said it will now review the future of its factory there – which could spell the end of more than a century of production on the site.

Two months ago Britvic reported turnover of £384.6m for the three months to July 9, an increase of 6.5%.

However it said revenue from its still drink division had declined, with its GB Stills arm – which includes the Robinsons squash and Fruit Shoot brands made in Norwich – reporting a 0.4% fall in revenue.

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, said: 'This is very sad news and many constituents will be very anxious about this possible closure.

'At this stage, I am urging the company to make every support available to those workers.'