Packaging giant Tetra Pak has opened a EUR100m (US$136.9m) converting plant in Russia.

The facility, located in the town of Lobnya, in the Moscow region, will become the largest in Russia and Eastern Europe to produce packaging material for liquid food products.

With a planned capacity of 4bn packages per year, the plant will run in addition to Tetra Pak's existing capacity. The investment is the company's largest investment in Russia to date.  

Igor Akimov, president of Tetra Pak Russia said: "The launch of the new plant demonstrates our commitment to helping customers grow their dairy and beverage industry with our unique offering of integrated processing and packaging systems for liquid food products." 

In total, 75% of the factory's capacity will be used to produce aseptic packaging to meet Russia's growing demand for long-life products. The UHT-milk market is particularly buoyant and grew by 16% in 2006 - twice as fast as the whole market of packed milk. Tetra Pak believes this trend is set to continue.

Tetra Pak's sales volume in Russia exceeded 6.1bn packages or 43 packages per capita last year.

In 2006, Tetra Pak delivered about 130bn packages worldwide, and overall sales exceeded EUR8.5bn.