Danone and Harrogate Water today announced that they have entered into a share purchase agreement under which Danone will (through a UK subsidiary) acquire a majority stake in Harrogate Water. Harrogate Water is a family-owned business with a unique British heritage and core strengths in foodservice and on-the-go consumption. The current shareholders of Harrogate Water, the Cain family, will remain as minority shareholders and continue to contribute to the growth of the company.
Harrogate Water is the owner of the award-winning, British water brand “Harrogate Spring Water”, one of the UK’s leading bottled water brands, and the charitable brand “Thirsty Planet”.
Harrogate Spring Water is the original British water brand, with a spa history dating back to 1571, and being first bottled in 1740. Today, Harrogate Spring Water is one of Britain’s fastest growing water brands* and leader in the Out of Home category**.
Danone is one of the world’s leading natural source water companies globally and home to iconic brands, including evian and Volvic. The acquisition will further develop Danone Waters’ position in the UK and support future growth for Harrogate Water’s portfolio. It will provide new opportunities for both businesses to deliver growth across complementary channels, combining the respective know-how of Harrogate Water in foodservice and Out of Home channels and Danone Water in retail channels with its evian and Volvic brands.
This move also reflects the shared ambition of the two companies to encourage healthier and more sustainable drinking choices. Harrogate Water has a focus on sustainable business practice, including 100% recyclable packaging, bottles made from majority recycled content, both PET (rPET) and glass, as well as an exclusive partnership with Keep Britain Tidy. This will contribute towards accelerating Danone’s initiatives and commitments to bring the health benefits of mineral and spring water to more people, in a way that also helps to protect the planet’s resources, in line with Danone’s ‘One Planet. One Health’ vision, including the waters business’ commitment to be carbon neutral in Europe by 2030 and to be using 100% rPET in Europe by 2025.
James Pearson, Managing Director, Danone Waters UK & Ireland, said: “I am thrilled to welcome Harrogate Water to the Danone family. This move will expand our offering in the UK and help to meet growing demand in sparkling water and on-the-go consumption.
“Danone’s heritage and strength lies in doing business in a responsible way: one that recognises the importance of sustainable growth alongside a commitment to protect our planet, promote health and value the people within our company and those we partner with.
“We’ve been impressed with Harrogate Water’s commitment to these same values, including a shared ambition to become BCorp certified and to protecting our unique water sources, and we are excited to support the next step of their journey, inspiring more people towards healthier hydration.”
James Cain OBE, Harrogate Water CEO, said: “We are delighted to have found the right partner to take Harrogate Water forward on its journey, while respecting and celebrating our history and heritage.
“Danone and Harrogate Water have a shared ethos and approach to community and sustainability. As a family-business, we are all about our people; our colleagues, partners and customers. Together with the team at Danone we are confident we will continue this success, with a considered, like-minded approach.
“This is a great investment for the town of Harrogate and the Yorkshire region. We are incredibly proud to become part of the Danone family, and are excited about the benefits this will bring to Harrogate as we continue to produce one of the world’s finest natural source waters from the original British spa town, for everyone to enjoy.”
James Cain will join the management team of Danone Waters UK and continue to lead the Harrogate Water business.
The completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.