The company is aiming to increase its production capacity by 20 per cent as a result of the upgrade, taking output to 180 million litres of juice a year. The modernisation of the plant will be completed by February next year, according to the company's spokesperson, Irina Gerasimova.
The Troy-Ultra facility is equipped with five production lines, and recently agreed to lease two more from the Swiss-Swedish group Tetra-Pak. When the first of these comes on stream, it will allow the firm to lift its production of packaged juice to 126 million units a year, while the second will help it lift sales of one of its most popular lines, the 1-litre Tetra Brik Aseptic Slim carton with Re-Cap 3 closure.
When this line is operational, Troy Ultra production will be able to double its production of this particular product to 76 million units.
"We decided to modernise our production lines because of our growing sales volumes - we sold 60 million litres of juice in the first nine months of 2004, which is 77 per cent more than in the same period of 2003," Gerasimova told CEE-foodindustry.com.
The investment in its existing facility will allow Troy-Ultra to increase its capacity as quickly as possible - clearly important given its rapid volume increases - without the hassle of moving to new premises.
The decision to licence production of its Sokovichok line of juice drinks to Moscow's Fonte Aqua group earlier in the summer also freed up space at the St Petersburg plant for the new lines. Fonte Aqua is producing all the 2-litre and 0.5-litre packs of Sokovichok for the company, a total output of at least 750,000 litres per annum.
"In 2004 we have been obliged to license production to other companies to help meet sales demands," said Gerasimova. "About 20 per cent of our output was in fact produced under licence. But now we will be able to meet more of the expected demand for our products, which will help cut production costs."
Troy-Ultra aim is to carve a greater share of the Russian juice market, currently dominated by four major groups Wimm-Bill-Dann, Lebedyansky, Multon (each with around 25.5 per cent of the market) and Nidan (13.8 per cent). A fifth major group could control up to 10 per cent of the market.