#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Fiji Water factory under guard

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fiji Water factory under guard

Former soldiers and military officers are guarding the Fiji Water factory in Yaqara, near Tavua, after the company gave notice it was quitting Fiji. 

They are part of the security firm, HomeLink, who we understand will be at the factory for two weeks.

The fallout between the American water company and the military regime escalated today with the illegal prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, saying "if Fiji Water no longer wants to operate in Fiji, it must inform the Director of Lands and Yaqara Pastoral Company Limited from whom Fiji Water has leased lands."

Bainimarama said Fiji Water had enjoyed several tax breaks, paying less than a million dollars in total corporate tax while receiving approximately $FJ 4-5 million in VAT refund annually". 

He also said the company sells its water to a US sister company and engaged in transfer pricing. 
There has been no further comment from Fiji Water after its statement yesterday, announcing it intended to shut putting about 400 people out of work.
But it's being reported employees have been told the company is waiting to see if it can work things out with the regime. Workers say they've been promised two weeks pay.

It is understood Fiji Water has a back-up - an artesian supply in the South Island, in Canterbury, where it owns the Spring Fresh brand of bottled water. 

It's believed the company bought Spring Fresh Ltd, the 10th largest bottled water brand in New Zealand, sourced from an artesian aquifer located at Tai Tapu near Christchurch, two years ago.

NZPA says at the time, Fiji Water said the acquisition of Spring Fresh and assets from a related company included the bottling facility and the land and water rights of the SpringFresh aquifer. 
Fiji Water is part of a group of food and beverage companies, and is owned by two Southern California billionaires, Lynda and Stewart Resnick. 
Court documents submitted by the company in 2008 showed that Fiji Water was owned by an entity in Luxembourg, a tax haven, and recent Swiss financial records showed Mr and Mrs Resnick transferred Fiji Water assets to companies in Switzerland. 

Fiji Water plant bottles around 3.5 million litres of water each month for sale at a typical retail price of $US3-$4 ($NZ4-$NZ5.37) a litre, mostly as a "trendy" product for affluent Americans. 

In 2008, the regime rescinded a F20c /litre tax after Fiji Water briefly shut down its plant and put 700 people out of work.