Karlovarske Mineralni Vody (KMV), the Czech mineral water producer, is planning to build a bottling plant in Switzerland, the company's CEO, Antonio Pasquale, said at KMV's general meeting on Monday.

KMV is looking to expand into European markets where until now it has only had a minimal involvement. In late-2001, KMV acquired the Swiss company, St. Moritz Mineralwasser Chaunt Blains, for CZK28m. The company owns the rights to the mineral water spring in St. Moritz and has also acquired the site where the bottling plant will be built. However, KMV has an option to sell the company back to its original owners if there are problems with the development and the plant is not built by 2006.

Pasquale said KMV must move into European markets if it is to succeed. The company has around 75% of the mineral water market in the Czech Republic. It owns the mineral water producer, Podebradka, and has a 30%-plus share in another mineral water company, Hanacka Kyselka.

KMV, which is 91%-owned by the Dutch group, Ronaldsay BV, exports mineral water to Slovakia, Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Slovenia, Germany, and the US though exports still accounted for less than 3% of its CZK2.8 billion sales in 2001.