January 17, 2012 / 9:11 AM / in 6 years

Eden Springs hires bankers to review business

TEL AVIV, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Israeli mineral water group Mayanot Eden, best known for its Eden Springs office watercooler brand, has appointed investment bankers to review its business, the company said on Tuesday.

Mayanot Eden, which issued a statement in response to news reports, said it had not taken any decision on a sale of the company.

Reuters reported on Monday that the founder of Eden was planning a sale of the business, citing people familiar with the situation. The report was then picked up by Israeli media.

Eden said it had begun a review of the structure of its financing and share capital.

“The company has tied up with investment bankers in Europe to consult on these matters,” Eden’s statement said.

Eden’s shares were up 2.4 percent at 4.2 shekels by 0900 GMT.

Eden’s chairman and founder Roni Naftali, together with other Naftali family members, own close to two-thirds of the group, according to Tel Aviv market data. Naftali has invited banks to pitch for the role of selling the business, sources told Reuters on Monday.

The company had 2011 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of about 50 million euros ($63 million), one of the sources said, giving it a potential value of 500 million euros. A second person said they believed the business could fetch around 350 million euros.

New York-based hedge fund Och-Ziff holds 10.1 percent of the company, according to the Tel Aviv stock exchange.

Eden is one Europe’s largest suppliers of watercoolers to offices, distributing more than 368 million litres of water yearly to some 450,000 customers in 16 countries. Its Switzerland-based European business recently won the contract to supply the World Health Organisation headquartered in Geneva.

In its home market it sells under the popular Mey Eden brand, drawing water from the Golan Heights, an area Israel captured from Syria that is a flash point for Arab and Israeli tensions.

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