A 20% rise in productivity at the Perrier site in southern France since the implementation of restructuring measures last May, has increased the prospect of the bottled water brand remaining in the Nestle Waters portfolio.

The restructuring plan was the focus of an 18-month long industrial dispute before the CGT union finally gave its consent. Around 356 of the plant's 1,975 employees will be leaving the company between now and 2007.

The Swiss giant has been unclear on the future of Perrier and has held back investment behind the brand. In 2004, it posted losses of EUR 7.4m (US$8.8m). Nestle Waters threatened to sell the plant during the union row.

However, Nestle Waters CEO Carlo Donati has indicated that the time has come for Perrier to exploit its full potential and hinted at further innovation behind the brand.