US poultry group Peco Foods believes that the increased capacity it will gain through the opening of a new production facility will enable it to win new business.

The company announced plans to open a US$165m fully integrated poultry processing plant in Arkansas yesterday. The facility will produce boneless and partially cooked value added products, Peco chief executive Mark Hickman told just-food. Operating at full capacity, the facility will process up to 9.5m ready to cook dressed weight pounds per week.

"New business will be added to the company as a whole with Western accounts being allocated to this production facility for saving in freight and shorter delivery times," Hickman predicted. "It will improve our ability to service existing accounts while attracting new customers in the Western states."

The site, to be located in Arkansas, will include a hatchery, feed mill and processing plant. Hickman said the location offers an "excellent labour pool", access to feed grains - corn, milo and wheat - and freight savings.

Construction will begin in two phases: groundbreaking on the feed mill site is set for April and the first stages of work on the hatchery and processing plant site will begin in July. Hickman said Peco expects production to begin in January 2016, with volumes being "increased gradually" over an 18 month period.