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Fiji Water to shutter operations in Fiji

November 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Los Angeles-based Fiji Water is one of the top-10 selling bottled waters in the U.S., but it may not be available to consumers much longer. The company owned by California entrepreneurs Stewart and Lynda Resnick announced Monday it is shutting down its only production plant, which is located in the island nation the water it's named after.

The company claims Fiji's military-appointed government is raising the tax applicable to Fiji Water to 15 cents a liter from one third of a cent, forcing the bottler to pull out of the country entirely.

In a strongly worded statement, Fiji Water said that the tax increase was a "clear and unmistakable message to businesses operating in Fiji or looking to invest there: The country is increasingly unstable, and is becoming a very risky place in which to invest."

The company markets its product's purity, saying the water comes from an artesian spring deep underground in Fiji.

Fiji Water costs more than other bottled brands.

The company said it is willing to work through the tax issue with the Fiji government because it would prefer to keep operating in Fiji and prevent hundreds of employees in Fiji from losing their jobs.

The nation's prime minister said Fiji Water has paid minimal corporate taxes and accuses the company of making untrue statements about political instability there because it does not want to pay the higher taxes.


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