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Late Wednesday One Rock Capital Partners, LLC in partnership with Metropoulos & Co., announced that its acquisition of Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA), from Nestlé S.A. is complete. NWNA is a leading provider of bottled water in North America, and spring water for its Arrowhead brand which is pumped from its Ruby Spring in Chaffee County, Colorado.

Dean Metropoulos, an industry veteran with 40 years of experience operating and investing in food and beverage brands, has been appointed Chairman and interim Chief Executive Officer of the Company.

Nestle bottling plant in California. It runs a similar plant in metro Denver. Image USA Today

NWNA consists of the former United States and Canadian operations of Nestlé Waters. It offers an extensive portfolio of what it defines as ” highly recognizable, responsibly sourced, and sustainably packaged regional spring water and national purified water brands”.

It has 27 production facilities across North America, 16 of which are Alliance for Water Stewardship (“AWS”) certified across 15 sites, with five of the certified facilities being AWS Platinum, the highest-level certification. The Company also operates the direct-to-consumer and office beverage delivery service ReadyRefresh®, a certified Carbon Neutral® business.

The Nestlé Waters North America portfolio of bottled water brands includes Splash and  Pure Life® and Arrowhead® Brand, all identified as 100 Percent Mountain Spring Water.  The company also owns and operates ReadyRefresh®, a customizable water, and beverage delivery service. The company is in the midst of a permit review in Chaffee County for renewal of its 1041 permit to pump spring water from the Ruby Spring to its Johnson Village pumping station, for trucking to its Arrowhead brand bottling plant in Denver.

The permit renewal is contentious, with environmental activists lining up on the opposite side to oppose the renewal of the ten-year permit. Their objections are based on concerns about protecting water sources in the Arkansas River Valley, and the environmental impact of the plastic bottles in which it is bottled.

Chaffee County Commissioners will reconvene again on April 6 as the 1041 Permit Review Board, to continue the permitting public hearing. They have reminded the public that the parameters of their review must meet the legal guidelines of the 1041 process. A few months ago, they requested the completion of an economic impact study, and results are expected by May, 2021.

NWNA executives have reiterated that the company will continue its longstanding commitment to environmental leadership. Based in Stamford, Connecticut with approximately 7,000 associates in the United States and more than 230 in Canada, Nestlé Waters North America operated in more than 120 communities across the U.S. and Canada. It has pointed out that its management of natural resources is focused on long-term sustainability, and that it conserves more than 20,000 acres of natural watershed areas. It currently sources water for six regional spring water brands from 42 active springs throughout the United States and Canada. Ruby Springs is one of those 42 active springs, but the company has never used its full permit allotment of water.

Both investment firms have extensive experience in iconic food and beverage brands.  Over the course of four decades, Metropoulos & Co. has invested in more than 80 entities; include Hostess Brands, Pabst Brewing Company, Utz, Pinnacle Foods, Aurora Foods, Stella Foods, The Morningstar Group, International Home Foods, Ghirardelli Chocolates, G.H. Mumm, and Perrier-Jouët Champagnes and Hillsdown Holdings, PLC (Premier International Foods and Christie Tyler Furniture), as well as Briggs & Stratton, among others in a variety of industries.

One Rock makes controlling investments in companies with potential for growth and operational improvement. It says that it uses a rigorous approach that relies on highly experienced Operating Partners such as Metropoulos & Co. to develop a comprehensive business plan focused on growing the enterprise and its profitability to enhance long-term value.