Groupe Danone sells off DS Waters unit

by Eric Schroeder
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PARIS — Groupe Danone on Wednesday pulled out of the U.S. home and office delivery water business by finalizing the sale of DS Waters to investment fund Kelso. The decision does not affect Groupe Danone’s development strategy for its home and office delivery water business in other parts of the world.

DS Waters was established in November 2003 by combining the home and office delivery business of Groupe Danone in the U.S. with operations of Suntory Water Group. The company’s revenues were approximately $800 million.

The agreement with Kelso covers 100% of DS Waters equity and includes the purchase by Groupe Danone of the interest held by Suntory Ltd. in DS Waters.

For Danone, final conditions set for the sale of DS Waters include a one-time charge of approximately €100 million ($117 million) net of tax for the second half of 2005 after absorbing a €450 million provision last year.

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