Nestle has not ruled out selling its Perrier water brand. The French company's chief executive told journalists yesterday that the option remains a possibility.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of drug company Roche Holding's shareholders' meeting, Peter Brabeck said: "You have to keep all doors open and one of them is the possibility of selling (Perrier)."

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.

Brabeck also told journalists that 4,800 French employees produce 1 billion litres of mineral water in France, while 1,800 employees produce the same amount of water in Italy.