SABMiller is planning to invest US$125m in the expansion of its brewing capacities in India.

An executive with the brewer in India confirmed to just-drinks today (29 November) that the money will be used on four large projects, which will be rolled out over the next six months. The executive would not be drawn, however, on what the four projects were, but noted that the move should add around 4.5m hectolitres to the company's total capacity.

"Part of the investment is also likely to fund an acquisition in South India," the SABMiller India spokesperson said. Significantly, SABMiller does not have a presence in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

SABMiller is in the process of increasing capacity at its breweries in Aurangabad, Haryana and Rajasthan.

Earlier this year, the brewer bought the Indian brewing assets of Foster's Group for US$120m. SABMiller expects Foster's old products to add 4.5m cases annually, taking total production to 35m cases per year. Foster's will probably be produced at at least three breweries across the country, and these will have to be expanded.

A spokesperson with SABMiller's head office in London said separately today that the investment will be a mix of capital expenditure, capacity increases and possible acquisitions: "We've got a spend dependent on continuing deregulation, which is what is driving fairly substantial market growth at the moment."

SABMiller is the second largest brewer in India - behind United Breweries - holding around 31% of the market.