PepsiCo has opened a US$110m chips plant in southern Russia as the US group, which last week agreed to buy local dairy giant Wimm-Bill-Dann, presses on with expansion in the country.

The new plant, based in Azov in Russia’s Rostov region, was inaugurated on Wednesday (8 December) and is PepsiCo’s ninth food and beverage site in the country.

A spokesman for PepsiCo’s Russian business told just-food that the Azov site will have a capacity of 25,000 tonnes a year and manufacture products under the Lay’s, Cheetos and Hrusteam brands. By 2013, capacity will rise to 50,000 tonnes when PepsiCo installs two more production lines, he said.

Last week, PepsiCo struck a deal to buy a 66% stake in Wimm-Bill-Dann, the largest dairy producer in Russia and the CIS, for US$3.8bn.

Should the transaction get regulatory approval, PepsiCo will then have to make an offer for the rest of Wimm-Bill-Dann’s shares under Russian securities laws. PepsiCo stands to end up paying $5.4bn for the whole business.