A planned merger of soft drink rivals AG Barr and Britvic has been backed by shareholders.

The tie-up of the two companies, which is one step closer following the vote, will come at the expense of up to 500 jobs.

AG Barr employs just under 1,000 staff working across 11 sites in the UK, including a regional sales, marketing and administration office in Aspinall Close, Middlebrook.

The merger is expected to be tied up on January 30, subject to regulatory approval.

It follows an all-share deal reached by the firms in November after extended talks.

At the time, the merger announcement said: “The number of employees and locations affected will depend on the outcome of the integration planning and these changes will only come into effect as synergies are realised over the three years, post-completion.”

The £1.4 billion merger deal will create one of Europe's leading soft drinks firms, to be called Barr Britvic Soft Drinks.

The two companies forecast a reduction of between eight per cent and 12 per cent of their combined headcount of just over 4,000 people over the next three years.

The headquarters of the new company will be Barr’s existing base at Cumbernauld, near Glasgow, with the operational HQ at Britvic’s Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, office.

Britvic, whose brands include Robinsons, Fruit Shoot, R Whites and Tango, has about 3,300 staff.

AG Barr, which dates back to 1875 and makes Irn-Bru, Tizer and Rubicon, has just under 980 employees.