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Primo (US) acquires water cooler firm SipWell (Flanders)

They’ve been a familiar sight for office and home workers in Flanders for years: the blue water coolers of SipWell, which sources water at its factory along the A12 in the town of Londerzeel. The water cooler company started in 1993 when Israeli-American entrepreneur David Rubinstein moved to the region and decided to introduce the typical American office water cooler to the Belgian market. Now, SipWell is being acquired by US beverage company Primo Water.

Water cooler

In safe American hands

SipWell was founded as a company that rents out water coolers. Customers pay at least EUR 14 per month to operate the dispenser systems. The water, which comes in large 10-liter or 18.9-liter plastic bottles, costs an average of 60 cents per liter. After almost 30 years in business, SipWell will now become part of Primo Water, which is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. An acquisition price has not been disclosed.

Local market leader meets global sector peer

The acquiring company has a market capitalization of USD 2.8 billion on Wall Street and generates about USD 2 billion in annual sales. It has water stations in 22,000 outlets in 22 countries, where consumers can also refill their bottles. Along with smaller, reusable bottles, Primo Water sells 3.4 billion gallons of water each year.

SipWell, on the other hand, has been the Belgian market leader for years, with around 40,000 water dispensers in place. Three-quarters of these are located at companies, while the rest can be found at social and activity clubs and with families at home. In Flanders, SipWell operates depots in two towns: Izegem and Diepenbeek. But most of its 170 staff members work at its HQ in Londerzeel. While many of its competitors get their water from abroad, SipWell sources 25 million liters of water each year from six 42-meter-deep wells under the factory in Londerzeel, where the water is bottled immediately.

Poised for growth

Primo Water believes that SipWell is well positioned for solid growth as water consumption increases due to global trends such as healthier lifestyles, greater environmental awareness, and strong growth in the residential market.

Acquiring SipWell, which has over 20,000 customers, strengthens Primo Water’s presence in Western and Central Europe. It offers high-quality water solutions and delivers superior customer service that aligns with our mission of inspiring healthier lives through better quality water. By adding SipWell, Primo Water becomes the leading provider of sustainable drinking solutions in Belgium, expanding our footprint and furthering our vision of providing pure-play water solutions whenever, wherever and however our customers want them.

Tom Harrington
CEO of Primo Water Corporation

More info

Primo Water
Reported by
newspaper De Tijd
27 January 2022

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