Leading Russian brewer, Baltika, is planning to build a brewery in Samara on the Volga River in 2002. The investment in the project is expected to be in the region of $60 million with construction set for completion by the end of the year.

The announcement follows the signing of an agreement between Baltika and the Samara regional government leasing the land for the brewery for 49 years. Production at the outset will be about 1 million hls rising to 3 million hls depending on demand.

Baltika's project in Khabarovsk in eastern Russia is also set for completion by the end of 2002. Initial production there will be in the region of 150 million litres, rising to 300 million litres, with surplus production destined for export to China.

Meanwhile, it has also been reported that Baltika, which is 75% owned by Baltic Beverage Holdings, has suspended the financing of a refurbishment of the Krinitsa brewery in Belarus. Baltika says the project will be frozen until the Belarus government reassigns controlling stake in Krinitsa to Baltika.