MONTREAL -- Naya Inc., here, is being sold to Groupe Danone SA of France for Cdn. $50 million, or $34 million U.S. dollars.
The European food processing giant plans to ramp production up to full capacity at Naya's plant in Mirabel north of here, which is currently operating one shift employing 105 workers. Normal production is two shifts and 210 people.
Danone has offered $34 million in cash for Naya's assets in Quebec, brand name, royalties on its water production and future sales, according to Naya's interim receiver Richter & Associates, here. It is not clear if the sale includes Naya's bottling plant in British Columbia which ceased operations last August.
Danone already owns Labrador Laurentienne, the second-largest water bottler in Quebec with an estimated 25% market share. Naya's share of the Quebec market has been pegged at 15%. About 70% of Naya's production was shipped to the U.S.
Naya declared insolvency in December, owing creditors over $76 million at the time, with secured creditors, mostly banks, owed $42 million.
The spring water bottler suffered a major blow last spring by the demise of its U.S. distribution deal with Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., which decided to distribute its own water brand under the Dasani name.
Three years earlier, a $110-million takeover of Naya by Coca-Cola Co. fell through. In September, 1998, Naya withdrew an initial public offering through which the company hoped to raise about $90 million.