Hershey's Indian venture is looking to build a manufacturing plant to locally produce the US giant's chocolates and candies.

At present, Godrej Hershey Foods and Beverages (GHFBL) sells Hershey's milk- and soya-based syrups, and imported Hershey chocolate bars in India.

However, the venture, in which Hershey holds a 51% stake, has plans to build a production facility in northern India.

"It is only natural we leverage on Hershey's expertise and go into manufacturing chocolates," A. Mahendran, the venture's MD, told just-food. "We are planning on building a new plant in north India but it is in the blue-print stages right now, but should kick off around March."

Hershey, which has been criticised for being too reliant on the US, formed the venture in April. Godrej Beverages and Food holds a 43% share of the business, while Mahendran has a 6% stake.

Godrej, which is worth US$1.9bn, is on an expansion drive, according to chairman Adi Godrej. "Godrej is looking at acquiring companies in the emerging markets. The acquisitions would be in the range of $500m," Mr. Godrej said, although he declined to name targets.