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Nestlé acquires Essentia, expands in premium functional water

Nestlé has underlined its focus on the premium end of the bottled water category with the acquisition of US ionized alkaline water producer, Essentia, the pioneer in alkaline water when it launched in 1998.

The purchase, for an undisclosed fee, will take Nestlé further into the high-end functional waters category at the same time as it attempts to sell off lower-value assets.

Since Nestlé announced in June last year plans to focus on its premium portfolio, the Swiss group has sold its Canadian regional water brands, purified water business and beverage delivery service.

Last month, the company agreed to divest its North American bottled water brands to a private-equity company in a $4.3bn deal.

Nestlé also dissolved the Nestlé Waters division, choosing instead to run all remaining bottled water brands at a regional level.

Earlier this March, the former head of Nestlé Waters, Maurizio Patarnello, re-emerged as CEO of Flow Alkaline Spring Water, a rival to Essentia in the alkaline water category.

Essentia was founded 23 years ago and last year posted $192m in sales. The company’s namesake bottled water brand, which is made via a proprietary process to ionize the water, delivering a clean, smooth taste and a pH of 9.5 or higher, joins Perrier, San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna in Nestlé’s downsized packaged water portfolio.

“With the addition of Essentia we continue to transform and best position our water business for long-term profitable growth here in the US and globally,” said Nestlé USA CEO Steve Presley.

Source: Nestlé; just-drinks.com

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