Dubai Refreshments, the Pepsi soft drinks bottler is to invest up to 250m UAE dirhams (US$54.4m) to expand its facilities and build a new plant, it was reported in the United Arab Emirates press.

Dubai Refreshments is the sole franchisee and distributor for PepsiCo for Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

It is hoped the investment will raise production to meet growth in the soft drinks market for the next 15 years.

The project is expected to be launched in early 2005.

The report quoted company general manager Alan Salem who said Dubai Refreshment's sales of soft drinks, including Pepsi products, rose 28% year-on-year in the first half of 2004.