French chocolate maker Groupe Cémoi has confirmed plans to invest EUR38m (US$55.3m) in a new production plant at its HQ in Perpignan to supply markets in southern Europe.

Creating new 108 jobs, the 25,000 sq m facility will enter service at the end of next year and will have the capacity to produce up to 55,000 tonnes of chocolate annually.

Cémoi's existing plant in Perpignan will be re-developed to house an R&D centre and pilot workshop.

The group is also planning to inject EUR6m at its plant in Dunkirk, in northern France, to double that site's output to 40,000 tonnes. New investment will also target Cémoi's Polish subsidiary, Gryf.

In 2008, Cémoi's global output from its 11 production sites is expected to total 250,000 tonnes of chocolate, an increase of 36% on the current year.