Japan-based Yakult Honsha has opened a second factory in the Philippines to produce its namesake probiotic milk beverages.

Yakult invested 2bn pesos ($34m) in the facility, which will initially produce 1.38 million bottles a day. The maximum production capacity of the site is expected to double to 2.76 million bottles per day after “facility enhancement”, according to a statement.

The new plant is located in El Salvador City in the northern region of Mindanao Island and will produce Yakult initially, followed by Yakult Light after the planned upgrade.

It is wholly owned by Yakult Philippines, a subsidiary of the Japanese group in which Yakult Honsha holds a 40% stake. Yakult Philippines said “several enterprising Filipino businessmen” own the remaining 60%.

Yakult said that the facility was built in response “to an increase in demand resulting from market cultivation in Mindanao, areas to its south, as well as Visayas”.

Around 51 people will work at the plant, which was initially established in 2022 and will span around 42,000 square metres. Yakult Philippines employs around 1,450 people in total.

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The business opened its first plant in the Philippines in 1978 in the province of Laguna located in the southern part of the island of Luzon, where it produces Yakult and Yakult Light.

Yakult’s operations outside Japan started in 1964 with the establishment of Yakult Taiwan. The manufacture and sale of Yakult outside of Japan spans 39 countries and regions centred around 29 companies and one research site, with average daily bottle sales of approximately 31.55 million bottles for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2023.

In that fiscal year, Yakult’s international business recorded net sales of Y215.1bn ($1.38bn), according to the group’s annual report.

Yakult generated group net sales of Y387bn in the third quarter of its 2023/2024 financial year, up from Y368bn the year before. Operating profit reached Y55.9bn, down from Y58.3bn, while net profit fell 6.4% to Y43.3bn.