Lucky Petfood has announced that it will be doubling production at its Castlecliff factory in Wanganui in light of the increasing demand for cat food in Asia.

The factory, which was opened in 1993 and taken over by a subsidiary of US giant Mars Corporation in 1998, is planning to invest NZ$30m on an 8000 m² extension. Production is set to increase twofold and jobs will more than double, with the current 150-strong workforce growing to 350 fulltime employees.

Business manager Andrew Ritchie explained that the company was now market leader on the domestic market in New Zealand, with exports to mainly Asian markets accounting for 90% of turnover. The factory manufactures over 100 different pet food products, but it is the Whiskas cat food plastic pouches that has increased demand on the firm.

Ritchie has told the Wanganui District Council that the new factory will be finished by 2003, and he added in a presentation: "We are expanding to cope with domestic and export growth and to develop our export operations."