Although not officially up for sale, Perrier, the water brand owned by the Swiss food giant Nestle is of interest to the the private equity arm of BNP Paribas SA, according to a report today.

The Dow Jones newswire reported today that a source close to Nestle had told it that BNP Paribas SA had already approached the Swiss food giant as a potential buyer.

Dow Jones said that Directors from BNP Paribas' PAI Partners have met with executives from Nestle Waters, the division that includes brands such as Perrier and Vittel, more than once over the past few weeks to express their interest in possibly buying Perrier.
The future of Perrier has been the source of some speculation for some time.

In April Nestle's CEO said he had not ruled out selling the brand, saying: "You have to keep all doors open and one of them is the possibility of selling (Perrier)."

Workers and management at Perrier have been in disagreement since November last year, when Nestle announced changes to employment practices, including plans for early retirement. The French CGT union, which represents over 80% of workers at the Perrier factory, opposes the move.