Georgian mineral water, Borjomi, has received a permission to return on the Russian market, Gennady Onishchenko, head of Russia’s state consumer protection agency RosPotrebNadzor said.
“Borjomi has been registered in the Russian registry of products and has been allowed on the Russian market,” Onishchenko told Itar-Tass news agency on April 11.
Producer of Borjomi mineral water, IDS Borjomi Beverages, welcomed the announcement and said it was now waiting for a formal registration notification from the Russian authorities.
In late December, 2012 controlling stake in IDS Borjomi Beverages was acquired by Russia’s Alfa Group from the family of late Georgian tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili. Alfa Group now reportedly owns 55,7% of the company.
RosPotrebNadzor ordered ban on import of Georgian wines, mineral waters and other products in 2006 citing consumer safety concerns. Georgia at the time condemned embargo as part of Russia’s attempt to undermine Georgia’s economy.
Vladimir Ashurov, CEO of IDS Borjomi, told Russian daily Kommersant, that the company was aiming at regaining its 3.5% market share, which Borjomi held in Russia in 2005 before Moscow banned import of Georgian products.
IDS Borjomi’s local unit in Russia will be a sole distributor of Borjomi mineral water in Russia; the company now produces and distributes in Russia Svyatoy Istochnik and Edelweiss mineral waters.
Value of exported Georgian mineral and fresh waters in 2012 was USD 59.34 million, up from USD 47.6 million in 2011 according to the state statistics office Geostat. The figure stood at USD 32.48 million in 2005, declining to USD 24 million in 2006 when Russia banned import of Georgian products.
In early April the Georgian government announced about intention to increase threefold fee for extraction of mineral waters.
The decision, which requires approval from the Parliament, was met with concern by Borjomi producer. IDS Borjomi Georgia, a local branch of IDS Borjomi Beverages, said in a statement on April 4 that tripling of already high fee would have negative consequences on Borjomi both on local and international markets.