just-the facts – Orangina

By | 24 September 2009

Following this week's news that Suntory Holdings' looks set to seal an acquisition of Orangina Schweppes Group from Lion Capital and The Blackstone Group, we take a look at the facts behind this quirky drinks brand.

1. Orangina is a carbonated citrus beverage made from orange, lemon and mandarin juice, with origins in France. According to its website, the exact formula is "a closely guarded secret". The bottle however, claims 12% juice, and 2% "pulp and zest". The drink started life as Naranjina, presented at the 1936 Marseille Trade Fair by its Spanish inventor, Dr. Trigo, from Valencia. Léon Beton bought the concept and produced it in colonial Algeria moving production to France in 1962 after Algeria won its independence.
 
2. The company created by Beton joined the Pernod Ricard group in 1984. In 2000, a share of the Orangina brand was acquired by a subsidiary of Cadbury Schweppes. Since 2006 it has been owned by a consortium acting on behalf of funds managed by Blackstone Group and Lion Capital. In the UK it is manufactured under license by AG Barr of Glasgow, most famous for Irn-Bru. In North America, it is still manufactured under license by Cadbury Schweppes.

3. Orangina caused controversy in 2008 with the viewing of a UK commercial featuring animals in swimsuits. The advert caused outrage for its sexually suggestive content. In the video, the animals gyrate around poles, spray the drink onto the breasts of other animals, and ride bottles, which then explode. The advert, which had already had 45 seconds of more provocative footage cut, was only to be shown after the 9 o'clock watershed. UK charity Kidscape criticised the advert. However, it was awarded 'Freakest Advert of 2008' and was 7th place in 'Worst TV Ad of 2008'.

4. Orangina is sold in over 56 countries, and is the number one orange carbonate in France.

5. In the UK market, over GBP1.5m was invested in marketing support in 2008 with the brand back on national TV. The brand is worth GBP6m in take home (up 8% year-on-year) and has grown 25% in the last two years, according to AC Nielsen.

6. The brand's popularity is said to extend from the design of its iconic 25cl (8oz) bottle made in the shape of a pear with a pebbly texture meant to recall the peel of an orange. Larger bottles also include the pebbly texture but use a more regular bottle shape. New flavours have emerged in Mexico including Orangina Sanguine which is made from blood oranges and contains caffeine and guarana. Additional flavours including Orangina Light are available in Europe, but rarely seen in North America.

Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

Companies: Cadbury, Suntory, Pernod, Ricard, AG Barr

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