French nougat maker Nougat Chabert et Guillot, owned by German sugar company Südzucker, is investing EUR16m (US$23.8m) in a new production plant in Montélimar.

The company's activities, currently spread over three sites, will be grouped at the new 10,200 square metre facility from January 2010.

Equipped with three automated lines operating around the clock, the new plant will enable the company to raise annual production from 2,500 to 4,000 tonnes.

The company's objective to increase annual turnover from EUR18.3m in 2008 to around EUR20m by 2012.

While 75% of sales are accounted for by the French domestic market, the company is looking to raise exports to 35% of sales, largely through growth in Germany and the UK.