Nestlé Waters acquires stake in Opalia and launches Aquarel in French HOD market

Back to Press releasesParis,Oct 1, 2002

  • Nestlé Waters pursues its development in the rapidly expanding Home & Office Delivery* (HOD) sector in France by acquiring a share in the company SAPHIR, which is more commonly known via its brand OPALIA.
  • This acquisition strengthens Nestlé Waters’ HOD distribution in France and follows the acquisitions made over the last twelve months of RB Diffusion (active in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region), and AQUACOOL (mainly operating north of the Seine). Nestlé Waters’ HOD coverage is now national in scope.
  • In addition, Nestlé Waters is embarking on a new phase of its HOD development by introducing its European brand Nestlé Aquarel onto this market.

Nestlé Waters announces its 33% stake in SAPHIR, a company owning the OPALIA brand, specialised in the office delivery of water in large formats.

Created in 1997 by Jean Luc Martinez and a group of investors from the Burgundy region operating as the SAFIBRI company, which specialises in services to companies, SAPHIR has 120 employees. In 2001, the company had a turnover of around 10 million euros. With the distribution of its OPALIA brand and 17 warehouses around the country, SAPHIR is number 4 in France’s HOD market.

The HOD distribution channel currently represents only a small share of the overall bottled water market in France – some 160 million litres out of the 7 billion litres in the overall market-. However HOD shows the most dynamic annual growth, at around 25%.

SAPHIR reinforces Nestlé Waters’ position in the HOD market in France. In 2001, the company acquired RB Diffusion in the PACA region, followed by AQUACOOL, which operates in the northern part of the country, and the Paris, Normandy, Loire and Toulouse regions. Nestlé Waters will now be able to distribute water coolers over the whole of France, from its 25 warehouses.

For SAPHIR’s Chief Executive Officer Jean-Luc Martinez, “Coming together with Nestlé Waters, presents an opportunity for our company’s long-term development and health. In a mass-consumption market that is far from having reached maturity, that is fragmented, and that provides real growth opportunities, we have to be aware of our limitations and let reason guide the way for ourselves and the future of our collaborators.”

Benefiting now from a business and logistics know-how adapted to HOD-linked services and that ensure a national presence, Nestlé Waters can use its bottled water expertise as a real competitive advantage through the Nestlé Aquarel image.

The choice of Nestlé Aquarel is linked to its compatibility with a multi-site production strategy, which is the foundation of HOD’s economic model, and to the wide appeal of a brand that meets the growing demand for a natural and light water, suitable for the whole family’s daily consumption. Nestlé Aquarel’s first bottling site has been certified in the Var region. Certification guarantees product taste and quality, while imposing strict physicochemical and microbiological standards and a stringent bottling process. Other sites will be certified in the coming months to cover the whole of France.

Introducing Nestlé Aquarel in the HOD sector complements the brand’s strategy of providing everyone everywhere with the ability to consume a brand of water that projects the same image and complies with the same standards of taste and quality.

For Frits van Dijk, Nestlé Waters’ Chief Executive Officer, “these new developments confirm the strategic role the group wishes Home & Office Delivery to endeavour and the Nestlé Aquarel brand to play to strengthen our leadership – not only in France but throughout Europe.” In parallel to certification of the first HOD site in France, two other sites were recently inaugurated in Italy near Turin and in Germany near Frankfurt.

Nestlé Waters is the Nestlé Group’s water division. With over 16% market share and sales in 2001 of 7.5 billion Swiss francs (some 5 billion euros), Nestlé Waters leads the bottled water market world-wide. With 72 brands sold in all formats, in all distribution channels, Nestlé Waters is a truly global player in bottled water, ensuring its presence in 130 countries.

Home & Office Delivery*: large format (jugs/coolers) water distribution network for Home and/or Office.