Vietnamese dairy group Vinamilk has confirmed it plans to open a dairy plant in neighbouring Cambodia by July 2015.

Vinamilk will hold a 51% stake of the 2.7-hectare plant in the capital Phnom Penh through a joint venture scheme with an as yet unnamed Cambodian partner.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the second quarter next year pending final approval from the Cambodian government.

The Vietnamese dairy giant’s move is an indication of the growing demand for milk based products across south-east Asia. Vinamilk already exports products to Cambodia, sales that are estimated to be worth US$40-50m annually alone.

“Vinamilk has been exporting dairy products to Cambodia for many years,” said Mai Kieu Lien, Vinamilk’s general director and chairwoman. “The plant will help us expand market share in Cambodia while reducing transportation costs as well as import taxes.”

The announcement also further signals Vinamilk’s growing international ambitions. The company already holds a 20% stake in a milk plant in New Zealand and Ms Lien stressed Vinamilk continues to eye markets in the US and Europe.

Last month, Vinamilk also unveiled a US$114m 20-hectare plant, located in Binh Duong province, just outside Ho Chi Minh City.