Nestle, the world's largest food maker, became the latest international company to target the Russian bottled water market by buying Saint Springs Ltd., one of the country's top mineral water makers.
Nestle would not say how much it is paying to buy all of Saint Springs, which bottles water from an underground spring in north Russia that belongs to the Orthodox Church. Russian daily Vedomosti last month said Nestle agreed to pay $50 million for Saint Springs, citing a person familiar with the transaction.
“The Russian market has good growth potential - a Russian drinks on average only 8 liters of bottled water a year while a French person drinks 42 liters,” said Hubert Genieys, a spokesman for Nestle Waters in Paris.
Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc., the world's two biggest soft drinks makers, have targeted the Russian bottled water market in recent years with their BonAqua and Aqua Mineral brands. The market is growing as the economy expands for the fourth straight year and Russians drink less tap water, which is of low quality.