Australia-based Goodman Fielder is planning to invest around NZ$27m ($23.3m) to expand and upgrade its ultra heat treated (UHT) milk plant in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The move will enable the company to meet the increasing demand for dairy products across the Asia Pacific region.

The project will see the installation of a new pasteurizing, sterilizing and palletising line, as well as a new 250 ml high speed filler at the plant. It will also expand the existing UHT building.

Work on the plant is expected to be completed by the end of October 2015.

Upon completion, the project will increase the production capacity at the plant by around 32 million litres annually.

According to the company, the UHT category in Asia Pacific is expected to grow by around 50% over the next five years.

Goodman Fielder CEO Chris Delaney said, "We are seeing increasing demand for our Meadow Fresh products in Asia Pacific, particularly China, as we continue to build on New Zealand’s natural, high quality dairy credentials. We are investing now to meet that demand and also plan for future growth."

Approximately, 40 full time jobs will be created during the construction phase of the project, which will see 12 new production roles following the increase in capacity.