IRN-Bru manufacturer AG Barr now estimates the effective date of its planned £1.6 billion merger with larger soft-drinks company Britvic will be February 26 – nearly a month later than it had anticipated previously.

It published its revised expected timetable for the deal yesterday, following a delay in the Office of Fair Trading's decision on the deal.

Lanarkshire-based AG Barr had envisaged, before the OFT delay, that the merger would become effective on January 30.

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The OFT, which has to rule on whether or not it is likely there is a serious prospect the deal might lead to a substantial lessening of competition, has put back its target decision date from January 17 to February 13.

A spokesman for the OFT told The Herald earlier this week: "You shouldn't read anything into this change of date. It is not unusual for timetables to be changed in merger assessment cases."

A prominent shareholder of AG Barr last week highlighted fears in Scotland about "significant interference" from the south following the Scottish group's merger with Hertfordshire-based Britvic.

Alan Waddell, former chairman of venerable Glasgow stockbroker Speirs & Jeffrey, raised the concern as he and other AG Barr investors approved the merger at a general meeting in Glasgow.