Fiji Water rows back on shutdown threat

Fiji Water rows back on shutdown threat

Fiji Water has performed a swift u-turn by announcing that it will reopen its production plant in Fiji and acquiesce to a new tax on its operations.

Fiji Water plans to reopen its only production facility tomorrow (1 December), according to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, which said today that it received a statement from the company. Fiji Water said that it will also comply with the Government's plan to raise tax on bottled water from FJD0.003 (US$0.08) per litre to FJD0.15 per litre from January 2011.

The news marks a speedy reversal from Fiji Water's earlier decision to shut down operations, a move that could have effectively seen the company cease to exist.

Fiji Water's president and COO, John Cochran, said at the weekend: "This new tax is untenable and, as a consequence, Fiji Water is left with no choice but to close our facility in Fiji." He added: "We consider the government’s current action as a taking of our business."

In a statement designed to put pressure on the country's Government, Cochran said that Fiji Water would cease all funding for social projects, such as the renovation of a local school. He added that the company generates FJD130m annually in export revenues for the country and employs 400 people at its production facility.