Havana Club International, the rum joint venture between Pernod Ricard and the Cuban government, plans to open a distillery on the island.

The venture said it would open the plant, which will specialise in the production of dark rums, in San José, Provincia de la Habana. It is planning to plough around EUR50m (US$64.7m) into the project.

The move is part of Havana Club's target of achieving sales of 5m cases by 2013. Sales of Havana Club are estimated to have reached 2.6m cases last year.

Four of Havana Club's top five markets are in Europe. In Italy, Havana Club's largest market, the brand is the top-selling spirit. In Germany, its fourth-largest market, Havana Club has bucked the trend of falling premium spirits sales with volumes up 30%.

Pernod joined forces with the Cuban government in 1993. Since then, the French drinks giant has been responsible for selling and marketing the rum around the world.

However, Pernod is embroiled with Bacardi in a spat over the rights to the Havana Club name. Both companies claim they have the right to the trademark as a successor to the brand's original owners, the Arechabala family.

Bacardi, which bought the Havana Club name from the Arechabalas in 1997, claims the Cuban government illegally seized the family's assets after the Cuban revolution. Pernod argues that Cuba legally owned the trademark rights before the company signed its 1993 deal with the country's government.

In August, Pernod launched a legal battle against Bacardi after the privately-owned spirits group relaunched a rum called Havana Club in the US. Pernod said Bacardi's product would confuse consumers.

Pernod and the Cuban government cannot sell its Havana Club in the US due to the trade embargo with Cuba.