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Georgian diplomat: Borjomi could be first to return to Russia

By M. Alkhazashvili
(Translated by Diana Dundua)
Monday, March 17

Borjomi mineral water could be one of the first Georgian products to re-enter the Russian market after the embargo on Georgian wines and mineral water is lifted, according to newly-appointed Georgian Ambassador to Russia Erosi Kitsmarishvili.

Moscow imposed the embargo on Georgia in spring 2006—ostensibly due to falsification and health concerns—as Russia-Georgian relations deteriorated.

The Russian market accounted for around 60 percent of Borjomi sales before the embargo was imposed and the company has struggled to find other foreign markets.

A deal went through in December that sees the holding company that owns Borjomi, IDS Borjomi Group, acquire 99.9 percent of the Edelweiss L Russian mineral water company from Gazprom-affiliated companies.

Edelweiss had a 4.2 percent share in the Russian mineral water market, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant. In 2007 total mineral water sales in Russia came to USD 1.5 billion.