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Leela group to launch bottled water under own brand

The Leela Group will launch their own brand of fine and gourmet water in the next couple of months it is learnt. Hotel Leela Venture Ltd has tied up with the Naveen Luthra-promoted-Luthra Water Systems Pvt Ltd – known for their flagship brand of natural spring water, Mulshi Springs – which will bottle and package the natural spring water privately labelled for the Leela Group both in glass and PET bottles. The name of the brand is yet to be finalized, but sources said it could be Leela Springs.

According to Mushtaq Rauf, Vice President-Marketing, Mulshi Springs, “We are looking at expansion on a national level. We have been supplying our product to the Oberoi Hotels and Resorts as well as Oberoi Flight Services under the La’Quila brand, and have now tied up with the Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts as well.”

Rajiv Kaul, President, Hotel Leela Venture Ltd was quoted speaking to an F&B publication Hospitality Biz, “We are using Mulshi Springs water for our Japanese restaurant Megu in The Leela New Delhi. We will be serving it as Leela branded premium water, served in glass bottles, at our premium restaurants. The brand name is not yet decided.”

The Mumbai-based Luthra Water Systems Ltd is investing Rs 25-30 crores in a state-of-the-art, space-age plant for the European Market reports PTI. This will be the third plant to bottle Mulshi Springs natural spring water. The company is eying a business potential of Rs 50 crores in its first year of operations in the European market. “We started in 2010 and aim at getting into the retail sector by 2014. Both the glass and pet bottle options will be open to consumers,” said Naveen Luthra, Director, Luthra Water System private limited.

Luthra Water Systems Ltd will invest Rs 25-30 crore in a state-of-the-art, space age plant primarily targeted for the European Market. This will be the third plant to go into operation bottling Mulshi Springs natural spring water. Construction of the plant will start by this month-end and the plant is expected to be ready in a few months, a company spokesperson said. “The company will fund these expansion plans from their own sources, “Mulshi Springs promoter Naveen Luthra said. Production of Mulshi Springs natural spring water in PET bottles will start commercially in the next financial year and the company expects to start commercial export of the water to the EU and France by the end of 2012. The new plant will add an additional capacity of 1.5 lakh bottles per day.

Currently the two plants in operation are able to bottle about two lakh bottles per day at the maximum. After the new plant is operational the total bottling capacity of Luthra Water Systems will be about 4 lakh bottles per day, a company spokesperson said. The company which is privately held has a current annual turnover of Rs 20 crore and the plants are located at Taluka Mulshi at Ahirwadi Village near Lonavla in the Sahayadri Mountains. The spring water reservoir capacity of Mulshi is about four million litres per day and is expected to last over 200 years. Two years from now the company expects to reach a turnover of about Rs 60-75 crore, Luthra said.

According to Naveen Luthra, “The market in Europe opened for us after Gayot, a luxury French international dining and wining magazine listed our water among the top 10 bottled waters in the world.” In March 2011, the firm clocked sales revenues of Rs 10 crore. “In financial year 2012, we will cross Rs 20 crore and in financial year 2014-15, we will hit Rs 100-150 crore,” Luthra said.

He said Mulshi Springs is the only Indian pesticide free natural spring water to be certified for import by the water boards in the European Union, USA and Australia. “In India, Mulshi Springs is the only internationally certified natural spring water, which is obtained naturally and bottled directly at source without any processing or artificial flavouring,” Luthra said.

The Mumbai-based promoters are into the import and export and international cargo and freight forwarding family-owned business for over 50 years.“This new the state-of-the-art bottling plant will primarily cater to European and American markets,“ Luthra said.

At present the firm supplies 35,000-40,000 bottles a day to the Oberoi and Trident group of five star hotels under the La’ Quila brand. Several other hotels also serve Mulshi Springs under private labels like Mumbai-based Oakwood, etc. The company is close to finalizing a deal with the RPG Spencer group of Retail chains for private labeling a medium-budget brand of bottled water which will be exclusively sold at all RPG Spencer outlets in India.

SOURCE: India Infoline News Service | Mumbai | January 19, 2012

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