Eckes Granini, the Germany-based soft drinks and fruit juices group, is investing EUR23m to modernise its plant at Mâcon in eastern France.

The company has added a fourth packaging line, increasing capacity by between 20% and 25%, plant manager Cedric Lottiaux told just-drinks today (22 July).

One of the original three lines has been upgraded and the other two will follow next year.

The group has also built an R&D laboratory, housing around 10 engineers and technicians, and is renovating the plant's 3,000 sq.m workshop for the preparation of juices.

Eckes Granini France reported sales of fresh fruit juices, marketed under the Joker, Réa and Granini brands, increased by 3% in value and 4.5% in volume in the first quarter of 2009.

Employing a total of 280 staff, with 144 based in Mâcon, the company reported 2008 turnover of EUR240m.