Labatt Breweries is looking to invest heavily in one of its breweries as it closes two others. The Canadian company said yesterday (17 May) that it will pump C$50m (US$39.5m) into its facility in Montreal this year and next. The brewery will take over production from breweries the company is closing in Toronto and New Westminster in British Columbia.

Labatt told local press that the expansion of the brewery, which began last year, will be completed by the end of 2006. The investment should add around 400,000 hectolitres a year to production capacity. The company presently produces 2.7m hectolitres each year.

In a news conference, Labatt's Quebec director Michael Doucet said: "The capital investment in the LaSalle (Montreal) brewery will enable us to boost productivity by 40% and to better respond to high-volume demand in the wake of the Toronto and New Westminster brewery closings."

The Toronto brewery, whose closure was announced early last month, will remain in operation until November this year. The brewery in the Vancouver suburb of New Westminster closed last month.