The Athens based Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling, the world's second-biggest Coke bottler, is looking to broaden its portfolio by pushing forward its bottled water business. It plans to increase its percentage of production held by non-carbonated drinks from 15% at present to 20% by 2005, more than half of which would be covered by bottled water.

It has already acquired water businesses in Switzerland and Romania this year as well as launching production of a mineral water at greenfield plants in Hungary and the island of Crete.

Having announced a nine-month sales rise of 14% to €3.1bn ( US$3.1bn) yesterday, Irial Finan, CCHBC managing director, said: "We're becoming a mainstream commercial beverage company and water is an important part of the portfolio. Bottled water accounted for 9% of total volume in the first nine months this year, against 6% for fruit juices and energy drinks.

The move is a reaction to the fast growing nature of the water market compared to traditional carbonated soft drinks (CSDs). Producers also face increasing pressure from retailers to provide a full range of beverages.