Carton maker SIG Combibloc is to set up its first South American production plant with the construction of a EUR90m (£75.2m) facility in Brazil. The plant, construction of which is underway, will be based in Campo Largo in the state of Paraná and will eventually employ 225 staff. Production is due to start in 2011. A first phase will give the plant capacity of 1bn cartons a year, which the company said could be doubled to 2bn packs annually. Rolf Stangl, SIG Combibloc chief executive, said Brazil offered "an outstanding environment from an overall economic perspective". "Its GDP is enjoying significant growth - an increase of 5.5% is expected for 2010. In international terms, it is one of the biggest economic growth markets. Its need for long-life packed food is growing. "After China, Brazil has the highest consumption of products in aseptic carton packs - about 10bn units per year." The group said that by 2012 the carton market will grow significantly in South America. It claims that long-life milk sales are expected to grow by 1.5bn litres, while long-life alcohol-free and still drinks packed in aseptic cartons are expected to grow in volume by 500m litres. The plant is being built on a 130,000sqm site. The first phase will take up 12,000sqm and is expected to go on line in the second half of 2011. It will initially produce combiblocStandard, combiblocMidi and combifitMidi format cartons. Additional formats may be added as construction phases are completed. SIG Combibloc already has a customer base established in South America and said it maintains close relationships with the leading dairies in the region.