The chief executive of Nestle Waters France has been summoned to a meeting with the French Finance Minister. Richard Girardot, head of Nestle's unit in France, will meet with Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss the future of Nestle's Perrier sparkling water and other French operations, the Finance Minstry said.

Earlier this week, the prospect of Nestle selling Perrier arose again, after the brand's labour unions rejected a restructuring programme earlier this year.

"This meeting will allow the opportunity to clarify the conditions for maintaining and developing Nestle Waters' activities in France," the Finance Ministry said.

Yesterday, in an interview with Europe 1 radio, Sarkozy said he will try to convince Nestle Waters management to reopen talks with the CGT, Perrier's main labour union, with a view to avoiding the outright sale of the business.