Japanese dairy group Yakult Honsha Co. is shaking up its domestic production network with the establishment of a new plant and the end of manufacturing at three others.

Yakult plans to stop production at plants in Kyoto, Fukuyama and Kumamoto and replace them with one plant in the city of Miki, in Hyogo Prefecture.

The company is investing JPY15.1bn (US$180m) in the new plant in Miki, which will supply the local market in the west of the country and is set to be complete the plant by spring 2013.

“The new plant is actually part of our investment plan for improving efficiency and quality,” a Yakult spokesman told told just-food. 

The Miki plant is the first Yakult plant built since 1984 that will be wholly owned by Yakult Honsha, rather than its subsidiaries. The parent company currently has nine plants in Japan, including seven dairy products plants, a pharmaceutical plant and a cosmetics plant.