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Heineken to expand brewing plant in Brazil, to boost production by 75 per cent

Sao Paolo

HEINEKEN will invest 865 million reais (S$254.7 million) to expand its Ponta Grossa brewing plant in Brazil, the company announced on Monday, as competition between the world's two largest beer makers bubbles up.

The Dutch brewer will make the investment this year and next and focus on its Heineken and Amstel brands at the third-largest brewing facility in Parana state in Brazil, its most important market worldwide.

The company did not give details of the expansion plan, stating only that production would rise by 75 per cent.

"We are bringing forward by one year all the investments of our strategic plan. Brazil is a key market for us. We are building a new brewery," said Heineken Brazil chief executive officer Mauricio Giamellaro.

Despite the slow recovery of the Brazilian economy, the world's second-largest brewer after Anheuser-Busch InBev is not waiting to expand its beer production in a market that is more important for sales than the United States or Europe.

Heineken has reduced the lead in Brazil of top beer seller Ambev, the Brazilian unit of Anheuser-Busch InBev, after buying the operation of Japan's Kirin for US$1.2 billion in 2017, which doubled its Brazilian output. Heineken says it now has 22 per cent of the market.

The expansion announcement came just a day after Ambev announced it will invest 2 billion reais to open a new brewery in northern Brazil, a malting factory in the southeast region, along with a can producing unit and additional premium beer production lines. REUTERS