The possibility that Nestle will sell Perrier re-emerged in press reports over the weekend. The Independent on Sunday said yesterday that if Nestle does not settle an industrial dispute with workers at the Perrier factory in southern France, it would not rule out selling the operation. The newspaper cites a company spokesman in its report.

Earlier this month, Nestle dismissed reports that it would sell Perrier as media hype, but admitted that job cuts would have to be made in its bottled water division in order to improve profitability. The company aims to cut around 1,000 jobs.

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.

In the Independent's story, a spokesman for Nestle said he was "confident" that a solution would be reached between the two, but warned that: "It is a possibility" that the Swiss company would sell Perrier if that should fail to happen. The spokesman added that the group would have a "clear vision" on the state of negotiations and any possible sale by the end of this month.