Companynews // 01/16/2002

Gerolsteiner Group has a lead on the competition

Gerolstein, 16 January 2002. Germany's largest mineral well association, the Gerolsteiner Group, shows decidedly stronger growth than the rest of the industry. While the turnover of the 237 German mineral water companies managed a growth of 2.8 percent according to the Association of German Mineral Wells (Verband Deutscher Mineralbrunnen, VDM), the Gerolsteiner Group generated growth of 11.1 percent in 2001, reaching 461 million German marks (235.7 million euros). Contrary to the generally stagnating economical trend, the number of employees was increased. 45 jobs (+ 5 percent) were created.


The value based market share of the Gerolsteiner Group grew to 11.4 percent (2000: 11.1 percent) despite the selling off of an affiliate at the beginning of last year. The quantity based market share grew to 9.0 percent (source: AC Nielsen).


Gerolsteiner Group's branded goods not influenced by economic situation

The Gerolsteiner Group managed to increase its sales by 4.7 percent to over 8.9 million hl of mineral water and soft drinks in the past year. At the same time turnover grew to 461 million German marks (235.7 million euros). This equals an increase of 11.1 percent when compared to the previous year. Gerolsteiner is thus not only defying the general economic stagnation, but also steering clear of the current low cost trend on the water market.

Due to this successful company development the number of jobs in the company was increased by 45 to now 988 employees.

Capital expenditure came to a total of 61.3 million German marks (31.3 million euros).


Market leader Gerolsteiner grows disproportionately

The Gerolsteiner Brunnen GmbH & Co. is the Gerolsteiner Group's parent company and Germany's largest single well. With sales of 7.5 million hl of mineral water and soft drinks, Gerolsteiner achieved a quantity based growth of 6.7 percent in the past year. Furthermore, turnover was increased by 13.7 percent to 390.6 million German marks (199.7 million euros).


The PET returnable bottle for mineral water, Gerolsteiner being the first German mineral water company to introduce it in 1998, is considered to be one of the motors of growth: in the past year, 1.0 liter PET reusable bottles represented 45 percent of Gerolsteiner's household containers. The market leader is expecting a 50 percent share in 2002.


Gerolsteiner as leader in the export market

Gerolsteiner is not only a sizable market force in Germany, it is also well established in 25 countries around the world. With an export volume of 201,950 hl (2000: 178,072 hl) Gerolsteiner managed to increase exports by 13.5 percent. Thus, more than a quarter of all German mineral water exports are handled by Gerolsteiner. Major countries for export are the USA and the Low Countries.


Gerolsteiner brands reaffirm top position

The Gerolsteiner umbrella brand name shows exceedingly positive development: it raised its value based market share to 9.5 percent (2000: 9.3 percent). Gerolsteiner Sprudel fortified its leading position in the segment for waters containing CO2, having now achieved a value based market share of 10.2 percent (2000: 9.9 percent). The market share held by Gerolsteiner Stille Quelle in the segment for CO2 reduced mineral water was noticeably raised to 15.2 percent (2000: 14.1). Both varieties thus prove their excellent standing as Germany's most popular mineral waters.


Affiliate's results brought back on course

At the affiliates Glashäger and Margon the business year 2001 saw many restructuring measures aimed at increasing productivity and results. By increasing investments in distribution and marketing, market shares in each of their central sales areas were stabilized. By the end of the business year they were even on the up again.


Both companies focussed on consistent brand and price policy, managing to avoid the intense price-competition on the regional markets. Thus the low point in the affiliates' development has been overcome. The measures taken by the Gerolsteiner Group to consolidate the two affiliates are fully effective.


The Glashäger Brunnen GmbH (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) was able to improve on the results of the first half year. With sales of 531,586 hl, the company sold 3.5 percent less mineral water and soft drinks in the business year 2001 than during the previous year. Net turnover nevertheless only was reduced by 1.5 percent to 25.2 million German marks (12.88 million euros)


The Margon Brunnen GmbH (Saxony) too managed to recover from the mid-year low. After a reduction in the range of variety, sales of mineral water and soft drinks reached 716,492 hl - 7.5 percent below the previous year's results. Net turnover amounted to 38.2 million German marks (19.53 million euros). This amounts to a slight minus of 2.1 percent.


With sales of 125,236 hl and a turnover of 6.8 million German marks (3.48 million euros), the Birresborner Brunnen GmbH managed to maintain the previous year's results.


Outlook 2002


The Gerolsteiner Group expects positive development in the business year 2002. After successfully adapting prices to the general cost degression in 2001, the sales partners in trade were guaranteed price stability.

The excellent company development also means an increase in the number of jobs. Following the personnel plan that has been adopted, 60 further positions will be filled during the current year. Thus the number of employees will have grown by over 11 percent in just two years.