Swiss bakery company Hiestand Holding has hooked up with compatriot retailer Coop Schweiz to build a major new bakery.

The new bakery will cost SFr40m (US$26.9m) and be located in Dagmersellen, in the canton of Lucerne in central Switzerland. It will cover an area of some 12,000m2 and employ 145 people. The two groups are heralding their new venture as Europe's most modern bread and bakery products manufacturing facility.

The new plant is expected to start production in 2005 and will be managed by a new JV company to be known as HiCoPain. Hiestand will hold a 60% stake in the company, with Coop holding the remaining 40%. Annual turnover is projected at SFr70m, the Aargauer Zeitung reports Hiestand managing director Wolfgang Werle as saying.