Nestlé Waters To Buy Sweet Leaf Tea Co.

Nestlé Waters North America Inc. said in May it signed an agreement to acquire Sweet Leaf Tea Co., Austin, Texas. The latter’s Sweet Leaf and Tradewinds brands had combined sales of more than $53 million in 2010. The price was not disclosed.

Nestlé Waters made an initial investment in Sweet Leaf in March 2009. This acquisition, which remains subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions, will expand Nestle Waters’ beverage portfolio of bottled water to include high-quality iced teas, lemonades and juice drinks.

It was unstated how this will affect Nestle’s licensing of its Nestea brand, which is produced in much of the world by Coca-Cola Co. Nestle Waters is a business unit of Switzerland’s Nestle SA.

“Sweet Leaf Tea is a company founded on premium ingredients and a commitment to good health and great flavors, in step with Nestlé Waters North America’s long history of providing healthful bottled water beverages,” said Dan Costello, Sweet Leaf CEO. “With Nestlé Waters bringing increased capabilities, we will be able to offer Sweet Leaf and Tradewinds beverages to more people across the U.S.”

Sweet Leaf was founded in 1998. Its naturally sweetened products are USDA certified organic, made with pure cane sugar and premium tea leaves. Tradewinds, founded in 1993, delivers authentic, all-natural, brewed iced teas and tropical fruit juice drinks. Nestle officials said Sweet Leaf’s Austin staff will continue managing the brands.

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