Thai Asia Pacific Brewery, part-owned by Heineken, is to double its brewing capacity from 98 million litres to 190 million litres following the agreement of a Bht2 billion loan deal. The expansion is in response to growing demand for beer in Thailand where beer consumption grew by almost 9% last year. Thai Asia Pacific Brewery produces both the Heineken and Amstel brands in Thailand.

Thai Asia Pacific expects its sales to rise by around 20% this year, following a rise of between 20% and 30% last year. "We have seen a huge potential for the Thai beer market since demand for beer has been increasing every year," said executive director, Chai Chaiyawan.

The ambitious forecasts are being backed up by upgraded marketing support. Some Bht 600 million has been earmarked for marketing and advertising during 2002. Chaiyawan expects its share of Thailand's Bht50 billion beer market to rise from 6% to 7% with profits increasing by 15% to Bht300 million this year on projected sales of Bht5 billion.

The brewer is 35%-owned by Asia Pacific Brewery, a joint venture between Frazer & Neave and Heineken, but the largest shareholder is the Chaiyawan family with a 51% stake.