F&N Beverages Marketing (FNBM), the beverage business arm of Fraser & Neave Holdings in Malaysia, has invested MYR18m ($5.94m) to build a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) production unit at its beverage manufacturing plant in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

The Kota Kinabalu PET facility will help the company in quicker despatch of its sparkling drinks to the market.

FNBM looks to fulfil the current and future demands of the market through the new unit and save on logistics expenses.

MD Khalid Alvi told Borneo Post that Sabah is an important market for the company, and the latest investment is to meet the current and future demands in the region.

The new facility has the capacity to triple production without any additional financial input.

During the last fiscal ended on September 2011, the company has gained 12.3% of total soft drinks revenue from the Sabah market.

The new production unit will produce 500ml and 1.5l PET bottles for the company’s sparkling drinks range, including 100PLUS, F&N Orange, F&N Sarsi and F&N Clearly Citrus brands.

FNBM’s latest investment has also been used for the development of ancillary infrastructure, which includes new water treatment facility, wastewater treatment and a cooling plant, boiler and air compressor.

The wastewater treatment facility is based on anaerobic technology and the system meets the guidelines of the Department of Environment.

FNBM has implemented ultra filtration (UF) method for the first time at the Sabah plant to generate quality water for beverages by using water treatment methods, and the plant uses both on-line and off-line PET bottles supply method inline with its flagship beverage unit in Shah Alam.

The Kota Kinabalu facility will be based on fully electronic and automation system complimented by a warehouse with a storage capacity to fulfil the demands of local market for seven days.

FNBM operates four manufacturing plants in Malaysia.