French bakery group Neuhauser International has invested EUR20m (US$26.7m) in a 6,300 sqm extension to its plant in Sainte Hermine to boost its presence in the west of the country.

The facility is operated by subsidiary company, Pains Brioches Sicard (PBS), which Neuhauser acquired in 2009.

The investment programme, which will lead to the creation of 50 jobs, has focused on the addition of two production lines dedicated to frozen bread.

One of the lines will manufacture standard pre-baked baguettes at a rate 7,000 units an hour. The other line, with a capacity 6,500 units an hour, will turn out stone oven-baked ‘traditional’ bread.

PBS’s main activity is supplying supermarket chains including Aldi, E. Leclerc, Auchan and Carrefour.

Commenting on the rationale behind the investment, Neuhauser president and CEO Laurent Bour said the group could build its presence in western France and better serve existing customers in the region.

Family-owned group Neuhauser employs more than 2,000 staff and has 15 production plants. It has an annual turnover of around EUR350m.