Proposals have today been put forward to Counterpoint’s 44 staff that will see the licensed wholesaler closing its operation here in Ireland.
In 2020, Britvic took the opportunity to evolve its business strategy, becoming simpler and more focused in Ireland to position the business for growth.
In recent years, margins in licensed wholesaling have tightened and the on-trade has contracted. These trends have been exacerbated by Covid-19.
The closure of Britvic’s only licensed wholesale business means that while that the company will continue to manufacture and market soft drinks – it’s Ireland’s second-largest soft drinks manufacturer by volume – it will do so via wholesale partnerships with other wholesalers to protect and grow its share of this channel.
The closure will also allow Britvic Ireland focus on its core competence as a soft drinks brand owner where it has a portfolio of market-leading brands.
The staff consultation period is likely to last around four weeks and Britvic Ireland has stressed that it’s fully committed to the Irish market through the 400 staff still employed here through all channels.
The move should simplify and better focus Britvic’s business in Ireland, believes the company. It’s bottling agreement with PepsiCo, for example, remains in place.
Thin licensed wholesaling margins have got even thinner over the past few years through continued margin dilution and so Counterpoint’s closure will allow the company to exit alcohol wholesaling which is margin dilutive.
“We remain fully committed to and deeply rooted in Ireland, with a portfolio of market-leading brands and a strong manufacturing base on the island,” said Britvic Ireland’s Managing Director Kevin Donnelly, “We look forward to working closely with our partners in the channel and see opportunities for mutual growth when the hospitality sector reopens. We deeply regret any reduction in employment across our business. We recognise that this will be extremely difficult for our people who have served the company well over the years. We will do all we can to continue to support impacted employees.”