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By Ashwini Prasad

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 13) - Water bottling firm Island Chill is undergoing a major upgrade to enable it increase production to 36,000 bottles per hour.

Company director Jay Dayal said this would be done with a fully automated packing line.

"The management has confidence in the country and its future hence has no hesitation in expanding and rapidly investing more money in the venture," Mr. Dayal said.

"The plant has an onsite world class laboratory that tests every batch of product before being dispatched for sale," he said.

Island Chill was launched on November 11, 2005, on the birthday of the late M R Dayal, founder of Dayals Group, a pioneer family business in Fiji.

Its Island Chill business, owned by Dayals (Fiji) Artesian Waters Ltd, has recorded steady growth.

The multi-million dollar state-of-the-art plant located at Vuqele, Tavua, is the largest locally-owned bottling plant in Fiji, said Dayal.

"Island Chill is an approved product in the 21 regulating states of USA, including New York and California, which have one of the strictest water bottle licensing authorities in the world," Dayal said.

He said it had been a big achievement for a local business to have met such standards.

Dayal said the company believed firmly in fair competition.

"Upcoming bottlers in Fiji do not concern us because in this highly capital intensive business it will be the survival of the fittest.

"The company that will survive the long term will be those that can sustain continuous losses for many years before they start realizing profit primarily because of the amount of money required for marketing and promotion if one has to export."

Dayal said without an export market it was not viable to have a water bottling business.

"It is not an overnight affair and bottled water is as hard as simple it sounds.

"It may look good on paper but the real work is probably the hardest thing we have ever done in our life.

"As at today we have poured more than $2million just in offshore promotions, marketing, obtaining approvals," Dayal said.

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