Packaging group Ball Corporation has announced its European subsidiary, Ball Packaging Europe, is to build a beverage can manufacturing plant in India.

The unit is expected to be located near Aurangabad in the state of Maharashtra, from where the company says it will be able to supply the two-piece beverage can needs for the majority of existing and currently planned beverage can filling lines in India.

Ball said application procedures with the relevant agencies were in the process of being completed, and the plant should be operational by mid-2009. The plant will begin operation with one manufacturing line capable of producing around 600m cans a year, Ball said.

"India is one of the largest potential beverage can markets in the world and we have long had an interest in doing business there," said R. David Hoover, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ball Corporation.

John A. Hayes, president, Ball Packaging Europe, added: "Many of our existing and potential customers are making significant investments in India, and we believe that now is the right time for us to invest there as well.  Ball and its licensees have been exporting cans to India for several years to help develop the market and to serve customers as various beverage filling facilities have become operational."