UK-based conglomerate the Virgin Group and Strauss Water, the drinking water purification and filtration division of Israel-based food and beverage company the Strauss Group, embarked on a joint venture to provide customers with purified drinking water, on Sunday. The Virgin Green Fund, an independent private equity firm affiliated with the Virgin Group, will contribute $7.5m while Strauss Water will put $2.5m towards the project, as well as its existing UK business. The new product, to be known as Virgin Strauss Water, will be marketed and sold by Virgin, initially in the UK and Ireland in 2012 with further countries to be targeted at a later stage. Shai Weiss, founding partner of Virgin Green Fund, said: "We are pleased to be making this significant investment in Strauss Water’s UK operation alongside the Virgin Group. We are confident we can build a leading consumer water company leveraging Virgin’s outstanding reputation for caring about consumers. Strauss Water has an excellent track record for innovation and service and is another great example of the type of water related business in which our firm invests." Rami Ronen, chief executive officer of Strauss Water, added: "Strauss Water is currently operating a successful partnership with Haier Group in China to market its products there, and I am confident that our expertise and technology, combined with Virgin’s leadership in understanding and meeting consumers’ needs, will result in the creation of a company that specializes in the supply of pure, safe and tasty drinking water to consumers in countries around the world." Initially, Strauss will own 58% of the joint venture and Virgin 42%. Over the next few months both parties will have the option to invest a further $10m towards future growth, in which case the ownership figures will change to 51% for Strauss and 49% for Virgin.    

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