Las Vegas-based food manufacturer Barrington Foods International has announced its intention to build a new blending and packaging facility in a special economic zone near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The news came with the conclusion of a five-day meeting between Barrington's chairman R. E. Williams and the firm's Vietnamese joint venture partners at Lake Las Vegas.

The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the joint venture partners to key personnel at Barrington; review marketing and distribution issues; and to forward plan new business in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

With a population of 81 million, Vietnam has a large infant and toddler market with sustained long-term growth.

Williams stated: "The new plant will not only blend and package our soy and other dairy products from the US but will also package Vietnamese products for Barrington to export to other regions of the world. In addition to our current food products, we plan to package all of our coffee and related products at the plant.

"The plant will enable us to reduce the costs of our products sold into Vietnam in both taxes and import duties. At the same time, we will have direct line control over quality meeting all US and European Union standards. With the new plant, we believe that Vietnam will quickly become a key production hub for our growing international sales."

Ground breaking for the facility is scheduled for late autumn 2002.