Spain's quintessential lollipop maker Chupa Chups will invest €25m (US31m) to build a new candy factory in Sant Esteve de Sesrovires, Barcelona, to replace its older facility there, a company spokeswoman confirmed to just-food.

The "more modern" factory will take over the ageing Sant Esteve - the biggest of four global production sites, by late 2006 or early 2007, the spokeswoman added.

The announcement comes as Chupa Chups reported a 38% operating profit jump to €11.1m on revenues down 11% to €264m. The profit hike was achieved through the company's restructuring programme which should help Chupa Chups report a net profit this year, the spokeswoman noted.

In a recent press briefing, Chupa Chups executives quashed reports about a possible company sale, adding that the firm will remain in the hands of Barcelona's Bernat family.