Nestlé Waters is planning to cut 250 jobs at its mineral water production sites at Vittel and Contrex in eastern France, by the end-of 2009.

The job cuts at the two sites, where Nestle employs 1,600 in total, will be implemented on a voluntary basis and through early retirements.

"The job cuts are part of a 4-point restructuring plan designed to make the two sites more competitive and which also makes provision for investment in production equipment, training and a new remuneration scheme," a Nestle Waters spokesman told just-drinks today (29 April).

He added that Nestlé Waters was implementing the restructuring plan to a backdrop of declining volumes of still mineral water on the French market, a high level of fixed costs and significant productivity deficiencies in relation to its major competitors, which combined had led to a dwindling of profitability.

"It's currently a difficult market, be it at home or abroad. The 'mature' export markets such as Germany, the UK and Japan are now showing their growth limitations while the domestic market is more fiercely competitive than ever with retailers own brands making their presence felt," the spokesman added.