Danone to acquire majority stake in Harrogate Water

Food and drink giant Danone and Harrogate Water have entered into a share purchase agreement under which Danone will acquire the Harrogate-based firm.

The current shareholders of Harrogate Water, the Cain family, will remain as minority shareholders.

The firm which owns the British water brand “Harrogate Spring Water”, and the charitable brand “Thirsty Planet”, turned over £21.6m last year.

Harrogate Water was originally set up with the assistance of Harrogate Borough Council to increase the profile of the town. However. However its history goes back to 1571, with Harrogate Spring Water first bottled in 1740,

Danone is one of the world’s leading natural source water companies globally and home to iconic brands, including evian and Volvic.

The acquisition is intended to further develop Danone Waters’ position in the UK and support future growth for Harrogate Water’s portfolio.

It will also provide new opportunities for both businesses to deliver growth across complementary channels, combining the know-how of Harrogate Water in foodservice and Out of Home channels and Danone Water in retail channels with its evian and Volvic brands.

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, 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.