Innovating at CMA CGM: Partnership signed with OGEU

visuel bouteilles OGEU

CMA CGM is always innovating. This time, it has gone to the very heart of the earth for its new project, with the decision to invest in mineral water. The Group has acquired a stake in Beaupré spring water, part of the OGEU Group, the fourth largest French bottler, and has formed a partnership for the exclusive non-European distribution of all the Group’s still and sparkling water. Spotlight on a project in action.

Elie Zeenny

Group Central Director and responsible for the project

Jacques Saadé strongly believes in the potential of French water and in that of the Beaupré spring in particular. He believes in this sector and thinks it will experience very high demand around the world.

November 2016, CMA CGM and the family-owned OGEU Group signed an agreement for the non-European distribution of all the water brands of the 4th largest French bottler. It covers all the Group’s still and sparkling waters: OGEU, of course, as well as Plancoët, Chevreuse, Saint-Lambert, Pyrénéa and recently Quezac sparkling water, which the OGEU Group has just acquired. All these bottles will now be loaded onto the Group’s ships bound for Asia, the Middle East and Africa. This agreement takes the form of a joint venture called “Aqualink International”. As an extension of this partnership, CMA CGM has purchased a stake in the Beaupré spring water production plant, owned by the OGEU Group; these crystal-clear waters spring forth in the Var, in the foothills of the Provençal mountain ridge of Sainte-Baume near Marseilles, the location of the historic headquarters of the CMA CGM Group.

Sainte Baume

WATER: AN EVER GROWING NEED

The intuition and vision of Jacques Saadé is that the world will have an increasing need for drinking water” stated Elie Zeenny, Group Central Director and responsible for the project. “French water is famous for being among the best in the world and is particularly popular abroad.”
For Jean-Hervé Chassaigne, President of the OGEU Group, “The cross-expertise of our businesses, the common vision of development and the shared values that guide us are the foundation for this meaningful new merger between our two family-owned Groups.” With CMA CGM, OGEU’s priority will be to distribute to the huge Chinese market, where the family-owned CMA CGM Group already has a well-established network of about 3,000 employees in 61 cities. But the company also has very strong ambitions for the other Asian countries, the Gulf and West Africa. OGEU can make use of CMA CGM’s fleet of 536 ships and its service to 420 ports of call. Joining together with CMA CGM has given the OGEU Group a new logistical firepower that will support its growth.

Elie Zeenny

Group Central Director and responsible for the project

True to its tradition of innovation, CMA CGM is investing in the Beaupré spring to provide it with the resources it needs to grow.

Bateau bleu blanc rouge

CONSTANT INNOVATION

The Group is not looking to use this two-level partnership with OGEU to diversify, merely to support the activities it believes in. “We have always worked like this”, recalled Elie Zeenny. “It is our entrepreneurial spirit and our need to innovate that are pushing us to support ambitious businesses. It makes a lot of sense for us to invest in the Beaupré spring”, stressed Elie Zeenny. “Like with Traxens in the connected container business or Aquaviva reefers designed by the company Emyg for transporting live lobsters. It also supports the regional ecosystem and initiatives that resonate with our ambition and vision, as what could be better than bringing French – and Provençal - water to the rest of the world?” An internal CMA CGM Group team was created in start-up mode for this project, led by Elie Zeenny, “We like to work flexibly so we can be more creative.

NEW PROSPECTS

Thanks to the discovery of a new source on the site of the Beaupré spring in May 2015, the bottling of a mineral water called Sainte-Baume, from the name of the nearby mountain, will begin next month. “We wanted to become involved because we believe in this site’s potential.” This high-quality water is intended for distribution everywhere, both in France and abroad. “We are going to support OGEU so it can innovate and modernise its plant in the Var. Our stake is a real demonstration of this desire to grow, but we are not going to stop there; we are also targeting other products from the Provençal region, including wine, flavoured water and fruit juice”, concluded Elie Zeenny.

usine ogeu 1

AN ENDURING LEGACY

The history of the OGEU Group began in 1820 in the village of the same name at the foot of the Pyrenées. The business, currently managed by Jean-Hervé Chassaigne, is the fourth-largest bottled water company in France and the country’s leading regional water producer. The OGEU Group has six bottling sites and three breweries. Its waters come from different areas, such as the Pyrenées, the Alps, Brittany, Gévaudan, the Vallée de Chevreuse and Provence, with almost 300 million litres a year sold in France and abroad.