Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling is reportedly looking at converting a mill in Russia into a bottling plant.

Local reports earlier this week said that the Coca-Cola bottler is to visit the site of the paper mill, on the shores of Lake Baikal in Siberia, later this month to evaluate the feasibility of taking over the site. In a statement yesterday (10 January), CCHBC said it will send experts to Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill on 21 January.

The mill has been dumping waste into the lake for years, reports have claimed. Lake Baikal is the world's largest body of fresh water, and the environmental aspect has resulted in protests from ecological groups in the region.

While no-one was immediately available at CCHBC to confirm the reports, a spokesperson for CCHBC was cited in a report by Reuters confirming the visit.

Last month, CCHBC confirmed to just-drinks that it is "looking for acquisitions to cover needs or gaps in our portfolio" in central Europe and Russia.

"(We're) not just (looking for) a juice company in central Europe and a water company in Russia, because one doesn't exclude the other. But in Russia, we already had a recent acquisition on juices, so it isn't a priority."

In March 2005, CCHBC teamed up with The Coca-Cola Company to acquire Multon, a leading Russian fruit juice producer. The transaction fee was in the region of EUR360m ($528.8m).