Mineral water market, worth 160 million euro in H1

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The market of bottled mineral water grew in H1 by 16% in terms of volume, exceeding 551 million liters and in terms of value it grew to 156.6 million euro, up 20%.
The growth in entire 2008 is estimated at 12% against the level of 390 million euro recorded in 2007, the Capital weekly writes.
 
Madalin Simion, brand manager at Biborteni, says the difference between Romanians and west-Europeans in terms of the mineral water consumption is strictly related to the purchasing power, since in Romania the products have the same prices as in the rest of the EU. That is why the consumption per capita of over 110 liters of mineral water in countries such as Italy and France, is double versus the one in Romania, he explains. But the growth pace on the local market is double or even triple versus the one in West-European states.
 
In terms of volume, the market of mineral water was estimated in 2007 at 1.2bn liters and 390 million euro in terms of value. A growth of 10% in terms of volume and 12% in terms of value is estimated for 2008.
Simion says this market has not reached maturity yet and is at the middle of the growth. He ads the current population of Romania should consume over 2.5bn liters.
A Nielsen study shows the volume of mineral water sales rose in H1 by up to 16% against 2007, whereas the value of the sales rose 20% to some 160 million euro (against de 138 million euro in H1 2007).
 
As to the mineral water consumption preferences, Romania is similar to the other EU states. As compared with a few years ago, when the carbonated mineral water represented 70% in total sales and still mineral water had a share of 30%, now, the latter has a share of 45%.
The Biborteni official says the only trend not caught by Romanians is «aqua plus», the mineral water with herb or fruit flavour, with no sugar.
 
The mineral water has come to hold 48% of the soft drinks market, say the representatives of Quadrant Amroq Beverage. In H1 2008, the top five mineral water bottlers covered 65.4% of the market’s volume, holding some 73% of value of total sales, a Nielsen survey has found. The main brands were Borsec, Izvorul Minunilor, Izvorul Alb, Perla Harghitei and Bucovina, which covered more than half of the market, both in terms of volume and value.
 
Most players have announced investments for increasing the production capacities. Romaqua, the leader of the mineral water market, will allocate, as of 2008, a budget of 18 million euro in this sense. Moreover, Biborteni will install a new line that will double the production capacity, which stands currently at over 60 million liters per year. Bucovina will invest 9 million euro in doubling the production capacity in Vatra Dornei (north-eastern Romania).
 
According to the National Mineral Water Company (SNAM), last year, the quantity captured and delivered to the bottlers stood at 1bn liters and other 350 million liters were captured from authorized springs by various private companies. SNAM leased out 27 springs (the royalty stands at minimum 2 euro for 1,000 liters of water). The most important lessees are also the biggest players on the market: Romaqua, Biborteni, European Drinks and Bucovina.
 
Adrian Feru, research and development manager at SNAM, says the production of mineral water delivered in 2007 rose by 10% against 2006, and for this year he estimates a rise of some 5% versus 2007.
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