The US soft drinks giant, Coca-Cola Co., together with its Belgian subsidiary, Coca-Cola Belgium, are to acquire the Belgian mineral water and soft drinks group, Chaudfontaine Monopole.

Chaudfontaine Monopole, part of the Belgian soft drink group Chaudfontaine Distribution, owns the soft drink brands, Lim' Oh and Parasol, as well as the Calidi juice brand and Duke mineral water. The deal, the financial details of which were not disclosed, is subject to regulatory approval.

Although Chaudfontaine is a relatively small player in the Belgian market, Coke has plans to develop the company in a bid to mount a challenge to Groupe Danone, Nestle SA and Belgian company, Spadel SA, which dominate the Belgian mineral water sector.

Chaudfontaine is thought to have 1% of the sparkling sector and 3.5% of the still mineral water market in Belgium. Annual sales are in the region of €47m against Spadel's turnover of €241m. In 2001, Chaudfontaine reported a loss of €4.25m.