Altmühltaler Mineralbrunnen Group, formerly known as Schäff Group, signed this week the sale contracts for their two remaining mineral springs in Treuchtlingen (Bavaria) and Breuna (Hesse). Buyer is discount giant Aldi Nord who had in the past always relied on external producers and – in contrast to competitor Lidl - has never bought a production facility (with the exception of coffee). The deal is still subject to the approval by the GermanFederal Cartel Office and is scheduled to take place at the beginning of next year. The parties agreed not to disclose the purchase price, however, people close to the matter estimate the price to be more than EUR 100 million.
The Aldi Group, which includes the two independent parts of the company Aldi Süd and Aldi Nord, is the most successful discounter line in the German food trade and belongs to one of the ten largest retail groups in the world. In 2021, the group was able to generate sales of around 30.25 billion euros.
Along with MEG (Schwarz-Group, Lidl) and Hansa-Heemann (Refresco, inside.beer, 8.7.2021), Altmühltaler was one of the largest mineral water bottlers in Germany. However, the company was very dependent upon a few large clients, one of them being Edeka, Germany’s biggest food and beverage retailer. The other one is Aldi (North and South) that receives about 80% of its soda and water from Altmühltaler.
After Altmühler demanded higher prices for their products at the beginning of this year, Edeka decided in May to completely substitute Altmühltaler by a range of other suppliers. This left the water bottler with large overcapacities.
As a consequence, Altmühlertaler decided to sell one of their plants to Germany’s leading family-owned brewer Krombacher and to close another plant in Baruth close to Berlin by the end of July. (inside.beer, 13.6.2022) Shortly later it became known that Austrian juice producer Rauch and Red Bull jointly agreed on a purchase in equal parts of the Baruth plant (inside.beer, 17.6.2022).
In the end, Altmühltaler was left with only the two plants in Treuchtlingen and Breuna and still a big dependence upon another large retail group, namely Aldi. It can be assumed that the Schäff family, as owners of Altmühltaler, have now pulled the emergency brake in view of the supremacy of the food retail trade in Germany and have therefore also sold the rest of their mineral water group.
As the new owner, Aldi Nord intends to invest further in the locations and expand the production and bottling of mineral water and other beverages.
“The Altmühltaler Mineralbrunnen Group has been one of our most important suppliers of mineral water and soft drinks for many years. Accordingly, the offer of the family-run company convinced us in an overall tight market," says Jürgen Schwall, Chief Purchasing Officer of the Aldi Nord group.
"The acquisition of the companies with production sites in Treuchtlingen and Breuna gives us the opportunity to maintain production capacities for one of the most important foods in Germany in the long term. This means that we can continue to offer our customers high-quality mineral water at the best possible prices in the future,” Schwall adds.