Nestlè’s Sanpellegrino Group water subsidiary has offloaded the Acqua Vera bottled water brand to Aqua Vera Spa, a new company established by the owners of PET container manufacturers Sicon. As part of the agreement, Aqua Vera Spa will also acquire bottling facilities in Santo Stefano Quisquina, Sicily and Castrocielo, Frosinone from Sanpellegrino, as well as the Acqua Vera brand itself. Sanpellegrino will retain its bottling facility in San Giorgio in Bosco, Padua – which produces beverages for Sanpellegrino’s other brands – but the facility will continue to produce mineral waters for the Acqua Vera brand. The Acqua Vera brand registered an annual turnover of €80 million in the last year, and holds an approximate 6% share of Italy’s bottled water market. Sanpellegrino states that the sale of the brand will allow the company to concentrate on the development of premium water brands both in Italy and internationally, while Aqua Vera Spa will reportedly seek to ‘consolidate [the brand’s] competitiveness in the Italian market.’ Stefano Marini, CEO of the Sanpellegrino Group, said: “We are convinced that entrepreneurs with a sincere interest in the mineral water business can further develop the brand. “This is why we have identified Aqua Vera Spa, a company set up by Italian entrepreneurs, as the suitable subject to promote the growth of the Vera brand”. Fabrizio Quagliuolo, CEO and founder of Sicon added: “Our thirty-year experience in the world of PET bottles, preforms and bottling finds its natural evolution in the direct commitment in the production and distribution in the mineral water sector. “A historic brand like Acqua Vera is the best way for us to take this step”. The sale comes days after Nestlé announced that it would explore the sale of ‘the majority’ of its Nestlé Waters North America unit, including its regional spring water brands, the Nestlé Pure Life brand and the ReadyRefresh beverage delivery service. Nestlé claims that the possible sale forms part of a new strategic direction for its Waters business, which will see the company increase the focus on its international brands, premium mineral waters and functional water products.