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UK regulator allows Refresco to integrate Cott's bottling activities

Britain's Competition and Markets Authority allowed Netherlands-based's Refresco Group NV to integrate the bottling activities of Canada-based Cott Corp. in the U.K.

The approval follows the sale of Cott's Aseptic PET facility in Nelson to Sunmagic Juice Ltd. The specialist manufacturing plant uses an aseptic production process that allows it to make juice drinks that can be sold preservative-free and without refrigeration.

In January, the U.K.'s antitrust regulator raised concerns that the $1.25 billion deal could result in higher prices or lower quality standards for certain juice drinks.

Refresco acquired Cott's beverage manufacturing business Jan. 30, and the integration of the two businesses began immediately in North America. However, the two companies were hitherto operating separately in the U.K. amid antitrust concerns.