At Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA), we remain wholly committed to complying with our permit, as we have been for the past twelve years. We do understand, however, that there are questions and concerns involving the acquisition of Nestlé S.A’s North American bottled beverage business, and so we appreciate the opportunity to respond here to the questions and concerns raised in the February 22 article, “Nestlé sale prompts Unbottled to speak against transaction.”
Nestlé S.A. commenced a strategic review of parts of its North American waters business in June 2020, including the possible sale of NWNA’s operations in the U.S. and Canada. On February 16, 2021, Nestlé announced that it had reached an agreement with One Rock Capital Partners, in partnership with Metropoulos & Co., to acquire NWNA. The transaction is expected to close in the spring of this year, following the completion of customary regulatory approvals.
Following that announcement, NWNA notified the County staff of the transaction and answered some initial questions. NWNA will still be the permittee. No transfer of rights and obligations is occurring, just a change in shareholding in a parent company above NWNA. NWNA is currently ultimately owned by Nestlé S.A.; upon completion of the sale, NWNA would be ultimately owned by One Rock and Metropoulos & Co.
The buyers will own NWNA and operate the business through NWNA, so nothing will change from an operating standpoint. NWNA will continue to be legally required to comply with the exact same permit conditions as NWNA complied with pre-closing, without exception.
In addition to clarifying the terms of the sale, we also want to correct the inaccurate characterization made within the article that the conservation easement is somehow a failed commitment. Nothing could be further from the truth. As you can imagine, the process to conserve this property through the state of Colorado – something NWNA volunteered to do – is a lengthy and complicated one.
After a series of actions, including a lot line adjustment and a comprehensive baseline environmental study by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), we have reached the final stages of the process. The next step is for the CPW Board to approve the donation. Once that is accomplished, the last step is for the Capital Development Committee of the Colorado General Assembly to grant final approval. We look forward to the completion of this process.
We at NWNA have spent more than a decade employing Chaffee County residents, operating our business, and investing in Chaffee County. We value all the relationships we have formed over the years in Chaffee County and are proud of our track record here. We look forward to continuing with the permit extension process.
Larry A. Lawrence
Natural Resource Manager
Nestlé Waters North America, Inc.