Ball Corporation is to invest US$40m building a beverage can plant in Myanmar as global soft drink makers and brewers flock to the recently-opened market.

The one-line plant, near Yangon, will complement the firm's existing Southeast Asia operations, Ball Corp said yesterday (May 19). The company expects “significantly” increased demand for beverage containers in the region over the next few years.

Construction will start this summer and the plant is expected to be operational by mid-2015, a Ball Corp spokesperson told just-drinks.

John Hayes, Ball Corp's CEO & chairman, said: “The Myanmar plant will allow us to bolster our presence in this high-potential market with a relatively small investment, making it an ideal fit as part of our growth strategy.”

The plant will align with The Coca-Cola Co's Myanmar JV, Coca-Cola Pinya Beverages, and “several other local, regional and multi-national customers”, Ball Corp said.

Myanmar has attracted a number of beverage firms since it opened up to international companies in the wake of political reform in 2012. Carlsberg is expected open a brewery this year, while Heineken is to build a US$60m brewery as part of its own joint-venture in the country. In 2012, the Coca-Cola Co and Pepsico announced returns to the country.