Strauss Water, of the Strauss Group, and Haier Group, the Chinese Home Appliances Giant, Sign Partnership Agreement to Establish a Joint Venture for Drinking Water Solutions in China

Oct 17, 2010, 07:43 ET from Strauss Group Ltd

TEL AVIV, Israel, October 17, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ofra Strauss, Chairperson of Strauss Group, Gadi Lesin, President & CEO of Strauss Group, and Rami Ronen, CEO of Strauss Water, announced today the signing of a partnership agreement between Strauss Water of the Strauss Group and Haier Consumer Goods of the Haier Group, the Chinese home appliances giant, to establish a joint venture in China for drinking water solutions.

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This venture will be owned jointly by Strauss Water 50% and Haier Consumer Goods 50%.

The venture will be established at a total initial investment of $20 million, with each party investing $10 million.

The new company, which will be named "Haier-Strauss Water" is expected to launch its first products for the Chinese market in 2011.

Ofra Strauss, Chairperson of Strauss Group, said today: "This is an exciting day for Strauss Group, which is completing another milestone in its global expansion and launching an international water activity in a new continent, to meet a genuine need for healthy and high quality drinking water there.

While this venture presents a great challenge for Strauss Group, I am certain that our experience in entering new markets and in managing multinational partnerships will be a key to the success of this venture".

Gadi Lesin, President & CEO of Strauss Group, said today: "Our entry into China takes us to the next level in the realization of our expansion strategy across the world. This partnership will leverage the combined know-how, capabilities and expertise of Strauss Water in developing water treatment and purification solutions, and the leadership position and reliability of Haier in marketing, distribution and service in China.

Rami Ronen, CEO of Strauss Water, said today: "Strauss Water is today presenting the first milestone in the realization of its promise to become a global water solutions company specializing in world-class drinking water purification, filtering, heating and cooling systems for both in-home and away-from-home markets. Our commitment to provide consumers with safe quality water will be the essence of our global activity, including China.

We identified China as a top-priority target market with huge business potential, and chose a partnership model with a giant market-leader company and brand. Haier possesses the highest marketing, sales and distribution capabilities across China and worldwide.

Today we are unveiling the Maze technology, which has been developed by our scientists over the past four years. This technology enables us to tailor a comprehensive solution to the Chinese market, ensuring that consumers there are provided with safe, healthy water.

About the transaction:

Strauss Water Ltd. ("Strauss Water"), through a subsidiary established in Hong Kong, STRAUSS WATER HK TRADING COMPANY LIMITED, signed an agreement with Haier Group in China through its subsidiary HAIER WHOLE SET DISTRIBUTION CO., LTD. ("Haier Consumer Goods") to establish a joint venture in China that will engage in the marketing, sale and service based on Strauss Water's products in China.

Based in Qingdao, Shandong Province, Haier Group is a world leader in the development, production and marketing of electrical home appliances.

The venture is owned jointly by Strauss Water Hong Kong 50% and Haier Consumer Goods 50%. Each party undertook to invest $10 million in the establishment and operation of the joint venture. The Chairperson of the Board and Chief Financial Officer will be appointed by Strauss Water, and the Chief Executive Officer will be appointed by Haier. The Board of Directors of the joint venture will include three representatives from each party. The Agreement includes a mechanism designed to resolve a deadlock situation between the parties.

The joint venture will purchase products from Strauss Water and receive distribution and sale services, including technical service, from Haier Group's subsidiaries.

The completion of this transaction, which is subject to receipt of approvals from the authorities in China and to signing of related agreement between the parties, is expected to occur by the end of the year.

About Strauss Group

Strauss Group, Israel's second-largest Food & Beverage Company, is today an international corporation with around 13,000 global employees operating twenty two production sites in twenty two countries. In the last six years the Group has consistently achieved growth, generating around $1.62 Billion in turnover at the end of 2009, of which 47% came from international activities. The Strauss Group is comprised of four core business units: Strauss Israel, Strauss Coffee, Strauss North America and Strauss Water.

The Group is a leading player in coffee markets in Central and Eastern Europe, Brazil and Israel for Roast & Ground (R&G) coffee and other coffee related products and services. Strauss Group is traded on the Tel Aviv 25 Index, which lists the largest public companies in Israel and has achieved a top AA+ credit rating from Maalot, an affiliation of Standard and Poor's. Strauss Group is in partnership with leading multinationals Danone and PepsiCo; and Strauss Coffee recently entered into a partnership with TPG Capital, a leading private equity fund.

About Strauss Water

Strauss Water of the Strauss Group, is a world leader in providing safe quality drinking water. Strauss Water engages in the development, production and marketing of drinking water purification, filtering, heating and cooling systems, for in-home and away-from-home markets, guaranteeing its long-term commitment to customers.

Strauss Water has developed the Maze technology, which is considered a breakthrough in water purification and treatment.

Strauss Water currently operates in three geographical areas: Israel- with the Tami4 brand, England and China- through its newly-formed partnership with Haier.

Strauss Water plans to expand into additional geographies through further development of innovative water purification and treatment technologies, while maintaining its long-term commitment to customers and caring for people, water and the environment.

Wherever it operates, the company will provide the basic need of clean safe drinking water.

About Haier

Established in 1984, Haier Group is a leading global brand of electrical and electronic home appliances, operating in various categories such as refrigerators, air-conditioning systems, home entertainment electronics, communication and cellular, personal computers, washing machines and electrical home appliances. Its global revenue in 2009 stood at $18.2 billion.

In its white appliances field, Haier ranks as the strongest and most valuable consumer brand in China for 8 consecutive years. With 28 manufacturing plants, 8 R&D centers, 19 overseas trading companies across the world and more than 60,000 global employees, Haier is an innovative corporation that owns 6,189 registered patents.

Haier is largely considered a world leader in quality, innovation, reliability and managerial excellence.

With 25,000 points of sale across China and other world regions, Haier has massive presence in the Chinese retail sector.

While Haier's home base is China, the company also operates in East and West Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, the Middle East and the U.S.

A keen advocate of social responsibility issues, Haier is considered the greenest brand in China, and operates various environmental management programs.

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