AS Liviko has completed a production investment which will see the company look to begin exporting to Japan.

The Estonian drinks firm said yesterday (24 September) that it has invested EKK20m (US$1.9m) in its new low-alcohol beverage production line.

With an output of 10m litres per year, the packaging line will be used for Liviko's Starter energy drinks, Viru Valge coolers, lime and cola drinks from the Caribba line, and drinks for Japan.

The line will enable the company to to follow "the elaborate production cycle" which meets Japanese laws and health requirements. Liviko also said that it has been preparing to enter Japan since 2006, through market research and product development.

"Being able to manufacture all our products at the Liviko factory is a strong positive step in increasing the quality of products, as well as in quality control," said Liviko's manager, Janek Kalvi. "Now we have remarkably wider opportunities for production development and, importantly, we can more flexibly satisfy the market."

Besides the other Baltic states, the company currently exports to Russia, Ukraine, Finland and the US. Last year, exports for the company totalled 3m litres of alcohol, representing a quarter of its output.

Last month, Liviko posted a 42% lift in net profits for 2008 to EEK71.8m. Net sales rose by nearly 32% to reach EEK1.84bn.