UK confectionery and soft drinks company Cadbury Schweppes has announced that it is to invest £40m (US$75.16m) at its Bournville factory in Birmingham to meet the growing demand for its Cadbury Dairy Milk brand chocolate

The investment will include a new 20,000 tonne moulding plant with state of the art wrapping and packing lines, along with a new chocolate-making area to support the moulded plant, the company said. Work will begin on the new plants later this year and they are expected to be on-stream by the autumn of 2006.

"We have been producing the UK's favourite chocolate at Bournville for 100 years and the announcement we are making enables us to build on the site's heritage of manufacturing excellence and is a tremendous vote of confidence in our highly skilled workforce," said Cadbury Trebor Bassett managing director Simon Baldry.

"Following a decision by Cadbury Trebor Bassett to focus on key brands, Cadbury Dairy Milk has been the confectionery success story of the last four years, growing consistently since 2001 and becoming the UK's most popular chocolate brand," he said. "Consumers spend more than £320m a year on Cadbury Dairy Milk with the brand growing by more than 10% in 2004."

2005 is also the centenary of Cadbury Dairy Milk. Cadbury Trebor Bassett is marking the milestone with a multi-million pound campaign to celebrate its birthday with the nation.

"We are proud of our longstanding association with Birmingham and are delighted our re-vitalised manufacturing capability at Bournville will enable us to meet growing consumer demand well into the future and focus on the next 100 years of Cadbury Dairy Milk," Baldry said.