Water cooler market shows growth

At the recent Bottled Water Cooler Association (BWCA) Conference delegates were told that the bottled water cooler market had performed better than mains-fed units in terms of both volume and value growth last year.

Attendees heard that the overall cooler market recorded average volume growth of 1.5% last year. The British market is currently operating around 645,000 water coolers, as consumers continue to turn to water for the preferred calorie-free drink.

Bottled water cooler sales revenue has increased by 5% year on year and the volume split between the two segments of the market continues to be weighted towards bottled water coolers, which account for 53% of all units.

The Conference speakers highlighted that “…mains-fed remains cut-throat. The key customers are usually in the public sector and so this is a tricky area for companies dealing with their customers’ cost-cutting and head-count reductions. There are large, best price tenders to compete for and so the need to compete on price makes revenue generation ever more difficult in this segment.”

“The return of business confidence in the private sector boosted bottled water cooler sales. This is excellent news for the industry.”

Water coolers – they’ve come a long way

We are seeing less and less of the basic white plastic box water coolers as manufacturers are now designing units that are both pleasing to look at and functional.

Today’s latest models combine advanced technologies with ambitious aesthetic design and usability, and their success relies on achieving the all-important balance between these elements.

Relatively untapped (excuse the pun) at the moment is the home cooler market which has huge potential – especially with coolers that also provide efficient hot water systems and could replace both the kettle and filter jug. Some manufacturers predict that home coolers “are set to become integral kitchen appliances, with a range to suit every kitchen style”.

As far as the office coolers of the future are concerned, again the feeling is that  these will be “completely in tune with the environment in which they are placed” and will either be wall recessed or wall mounted.

Whilst cooler manufacturers continue to make their units more energy efficient, hygienic and integrated, they are also working on reducing the floor print of the cooler; streamlining; soft-touch, or no-touch activation.  They have come a long way.

Angel Springs partners with Greenworks

Greenworks Solutions is to merge its water cooler division, Greenworks Water, with water cooler distributor Angel Springs.

Greenworks has over 15,000 mostly mains fed water coolers and this transaction further helps Angel Springs to become one of the leading supplier of both bottled and mains fed coolers in the UK market.

Managing director of Greenworks Adam Warren commented: “We are delighted to have found the right partner for our customers and staff. In Angel Springs, we recognise a company that can continue our culture of great customer care plus, appreciate the skills and knowledge our staff will bring with them.”

“Greenworks Solutions will continue with its other B2B services. However, it has become clearly evident to us that a coffee and water offering are very different business models, and in order to focus our skills and resources on coffee, we needed to find a good home for the water division, and Angel has provided this.”

Watercooler company acquisition announced

Staffordshire-based Office Watercoolers Ltd. has recently announced the acquisition of Freshwater Coolers.

Freshwater Coolers, based in Leeds, specialises in point-of-use (POU) water cooler and water boilers and has installed approximately 5,000 units across the UK. The acquisition will extend Office Watercoolers’ combined POU and bottled water cooler base to more than 10,500 units.

Office Watercoolers managing director Ken Skelton said: “Freshwater Coolers Plc has an excellent reputation for high customer service levels and is an ideal fit with Office Watercoolers Ltd. Our companies share many core values as well as customers and industry suppliers and we intend to further enhance these essential relationships. This will be our largest acquisition to date and is a major step forward in terms of our longer term strategy of building a national water cooler company focusing upon delivering outstanding products and service levels in this market.”

Acquisition of Waterlogic announced

European private equity investment firm Castik Capital has completed its acquisition of Waterlogic Plc, a manufacturer, distributor and service provider of point-of-use (POU) drinking water systems.

Castik aims to combine Waterlogic with recently acquired Angel Springs, another UK water cooler company, to start creating a leading global water cooler business.

Earlier in December, Castik completed the acquisition of privately-held Angel Springs, which will become a Waterlogic subsidiary, and John Dundon, the CEO of Angel Springs, will join the Waterlogic advisory board.

For the time being, Angel Springs will continue to operate under its own brand in the UK, and keep its current product offering.

“Waterlogic and Angel Springs both enjoy strong growth momentum – together, they will be even better placed to benefit from global opportunities,” said Michael Phillips, partner of Castik Capital.

“We expect steady growth in the water cooler market, and will support selective M&A when opportunities arise. Markets are fragmented in many countries, and given Waterlogic’s vertical integration, technological edge and excellent management team, we see significant scope for value-enhancing acquisitions and strong organic growth.”

The new combined entity will be led by the existing Waterlogic management with founder and group CEO Jeremy Ben-David, together with commercial CEO Peter Cohen. The Waterlogic and Angel Springs management teams have both significantly reinvested in the new business.

“While we are leaders in point of use, we are like David to the Goliaths of bottled water – we know we can bring better water to workplaces and homes, but we need scale and presence to achieve this,” said Jeremy Ben-David. “We want to be the global no 1 in all major markets, and this deal sets us on that path.”

Waterlogic already has an established international presence, with 780,000 units installed across 50 countries. Waterlogic and Angel Springs will be integrated to benefit from marketing and revenue synergies and the sharing of best practice.


Angel Springs acquisition

Angel Springs, the UK-based water cooler provider, has been acquired by Castik Capital, the European private equity investment firm, in a multi-million pound deal.

The company provides both bottled and mains fed water coolers to businesses throughout the UK and currently services more than 60,000 water coolers. The business has a network of ten regional service and distribution centres.

As part of the deal, Castik Capital have also acquired Fillongley Spring Water Ltd, described as ‘the UK’s premier bottling plant’.

Commenting on the deal, John Dundon, said: “Castik’s investment reflects the confidence we both have in Angel’s future potential. Their support will allow us to strengthen our market leading position in the UK by continuing to give excellent service to existing customers and by making complementary acquisitions.”


A water dispenser that’s good looking!

Sodastream Professional has launched the SO° UP Pure Touch; a new point of use water dispenser for cold, sparkling and hot water.

Designed for the home and office market sectors, the new machine is the result of ‘incessant technological research’ and features touch-screen capabilities, as well as an electronic volumetric dosing system.

Produced in Italy using high quality eco-friendly materials, the water dispenser benefits from modern styling and offers white lacquered, stainless steel and matt black finishes. Sodastream Professional’s latest innovation is also available in an undersink model.  It looks pretty good we think!


Eden Springs expands again

Eden Springs has expanded its customer portfolio in Spain with the acquisition of office water solutions activities from the Pascual Corporation.

The acquisition adds around 10,000 customers to Eden Springs’ water and coffee service network, mainly in the key urban areas of Madrid, Barcelona and Seville.

This deal in follows the Eden Springs Group’s recent acquisition in September of five businesses from Nestlé Waters Direct in Germany, Russia, Portugal, Poland and the Netherlands, and reflects the company’s strategy of selective acquisitions as part of its overall growth strategy.


Water cooler with the latest UVC disinfection technology

Water cooler manufacturer Oasis has worked with Philips Lighting and ‘AquaClara’, a bottled water supplier in Japan, to develop a countertop water cooler called Trust.

Trust is equipped with Philips’ latest UVC disinfection technology, InstantTrust, at the point of cold water dispense. Instant Trust technology differs from traditional mercury based UVC lamps in a number of  ways, namely it doesn’t use mercury, which reduces its impact on the environment when it’s scrapped at the end of its effective life, and full disinfection is reached in less than 0.1 seconds (traditionally it takes 30-60 seconds).

As well as having an energy saver mode to reduce power consumption, it also has a hot boost mode to produce piping hot water for preparing hot drinks.

On the safety front, an electronic safety system prevents accidental dispensing of hot water and the cooler will automatically shut down if Instant Trust isn’t operating at optimum efficiency.


Eden Springs announces acquisition

Eden Springs has confirmed the acquisition of five water cooler businesses, for an undisclosed sum, from Nestlé Waters Direct (NWD), a division of Nestlé Waters. The deal involves the acquisition of NWD’s water cooler activities in five European countries.

Already servicing offices with water and/or coffee across 15 countries, this acquisition provides the Swiss-headquartered company with important new markets in Germany, Russia and Portugal, and enhanced positions in Poland and the Netherlands. The NWD acquisition will increase Eden’s installed client base from over 650,000 to approximately one million. The deal is expected to increase Eden’s annual turnover by circa 30%, from over €280m to approximately €370m, and strengthens its brand within the European water and coffee market.

The acquisition reflects Eden Springs’ confidence in the present and future growth of the European water and coffee market following a period of contraction during the recession. The company believes now is the time to harness the opportunity to expand its offerings of both water and coffee to a larger potential client base in Europe.