Groupe Danone, Suntory Limited Launch Joint Venture

Groupe Danone and Suntory Limited have completed the creation of DS Waters Enterprises, LP, now the largest home and office delivery company in the United States.

DS Waters Enterprises includes all of the activities of Suntory Water Group and the home and office delivery bottled water activities of Danone Waters of North America in the United States.

The transaction is structured as a leveraged partnership. Both partners have an equal holding in the new company and senior management has a significant interest in the profits.

Under the terms of the agreement, signed Sept. 4, Suntory Limited has the option to sell its interest to Groupe Danone in two stages: on the third anniversary for the first block, and on the fifth anniversary for the second block.

The joint venture is financed with $400 million of medium term syndicated loans and $325 million of preferred stock held by Groupe Danone. The $400 million medium term loans are part of a $550 million secured credit facility, co-arranged by JP Morgan and Citigroup.

As announced Sept. 8, William A. Holl has been appointed chief executive officer of the new company and serves on the board of directors.

The company's senior management team will be composed of managers from both Suntory Water Group and Danone Waters of North America.

Groupe Danone

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