AROUND THE GLOBE
01/2014

SIPA installs complete line for Cambodia’s first and foremost natural mineral water bottler

“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink,” wrote the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. His Ancient Mariner was adrift at sea at the time, but he might have said the same thing if he was walking through Cambodia until recently. Cambodia may have a monsoon climate, but you would have been well-advised to avoid some bottled water there. Happily, things are changing, and SIPA is helping to make it happen.

Just a few years ago, Frenchman Bernard Forey discovered many bottled water in Cambodia was unfit for human consumption. Luckily, he was able to do something about it. A while earlier, while in Vietnam, he had found a deep acquifer containing water with well balanced mineralisation, similar to leading French brands, in the country’s Long An province. That acquifer became the source of La Vie mineral water, sold by a company that Forey set up and later sold to what is now Nestlé Waters. So Forey already knew quite a lot about water and how to get it into bottles.

Looking for water from the air

To cut a long story short, Forey went with his son who is a pilot, on an aerial survey in Cambodia over the Angkor temples and 30km away to the mountainous region of Kulen, birth place of the Khmer civilisation.
He spotted an unexpected waterfall close to the top of the Mount Kulen, as well as several rivers flowing to the plain of Angkor. He decided to drill at the foot of Mount Kulen, after buying 9 hectares of land and found a deep aquifer, deep below the earth surface with the purest natural mineral water in South East Asia, one of the best in the world, put up a factory to bottle directly from the aquifer and then asked SIPA to propose a complete mineral water PET bottling plant solution. SIPA was very happy to cooperate. Forey liked the quality and price of the proposal, and things moved ahead from there.

Bottles to pallets

SIPA supplied its own SFL 6/6 linear stretch-blow molding unit, integrated with a complete set of downstream bottling and packaging equipment sourced locally. The line produces bottles in 300, 500, and 1500 mL formats. SIPA and Kulara Water are now working together to develop new designs for premium and lightweight bottles too.
Kulara Water, headquartered in Phnom Penh, is selling its Eau Kulen mineral water to the best restaurants and hotels in the country, as well as top supermarkets. The company is now targeting retailers all across the country. Eau Kulen is widely considered to be the only pure mineral water from local a local source.

Coming soon: preform production

As might be appreciated, Forey is a restless man. Now he is busy with studies for production of PET bottle preforms in neighbouring Myanmar. Discussions with SIPA to supply a production system for that future operation are well advanced.