Fiji Water Shuts Down
It seems there is trouble in paradise. Anna Lenzer has been reporting for Mother Jones about the boutique bottled water company Fiji Water and the high price and high environmental impact of their product. Last week Lenzer revealed that Fiji Water's Director of External Affairs David Roth was deported -- apparently ending the cozy relationship the company has had with the nation's military junta.
And now things have gotten worse. She writes:
Fiji Water announced today that it will close its operations in Fiji in response to a water extraction tax hike proposed by the Fijian government, to take effect in 2011. The abrupt shutdown comes just three days after the government announced the 2011 budget, which proposes increasing Fiji Water's "extraction tax" to 15 cents a liter up from one-third of a cent.
Fiji Water has, however, benefited from tax-exempt status on its corporate income, granted when the company was founded in 1995 and extended ever since. Court documents submitted by the company in 2008 showed that Fiji Water was owned by an entity in Luxembourg, and recent Swiss financial records also show the Resnicks transferring Fiji Water assets to companies in Switzerland. (The company has also trademarked the word "FIJI" in the Cayman Islands.)
Who knows maybe all this will be resolved and Fiji Water will be back in business again -- or perhaps, as Lenzer suggests, Fiji Water owners Stewart and Lynda Resnick may turn their attention to a new target: New Zealand.