Underperforming soft drink company AG Barr may bid for a package of Britvic brands, despite having ruled itself out of the auction for the entire business.
Backed by venture capitalists 3i, Barr had been considering a bid for Britvic, which has been put on the market by joint owners Six Continents, Allied Domecq, Whitbread and PepsiCo.
However, following a disappointing set of half year results, Scotland-based Barr has ruled itself out of the bidding for the biggest on-trade soft drinks supplier.
However, the company is thought to have identified a number of brands which could be up for sale, depending on who wins the Britvic auction.
Barr, second only to Coca Cola in the Scots soft drink market, owns the Irn-Bru and Tizer brands. It also has UK distribution rights to Orangina, which it will retain until at least 2004, despite the sale of the brand to Cadbury.
Barr blamed a 25 per cent fall in pre-tax profits on the six months to the end of July on factors including a poor summer and pricing pressure, caused in part by grey market imports.
However, the company was heartened by double digit increase in volume growth of the Irn-Bru brand south of the border.