Local soft-drink supplier Hey Song Corp (黑松) plans to invest at least NT$1 billion (US$34.36 million) in building a new production line in Taiwan to develop new, healthier drinks, given the growing trend of healthy living.
The new production line will be built in Zhongli City (中壢), Taoyuan County, and is expected to become operational by next year, company chairman Chang Pin-tang (張斌堂) told reporters.
The new production line will be aseptic, which will allow the company to add vitamins, milk or other nutritional elements to drinks, Hey Song Corp vice president Fred Chang (張建章) said.
The aseptic production line will be the first of its kind in the nation and Hey Song will be the first local company capable of producing carbonated drinks similar to Calpis soda, a popular carbonated lactic-acid drink in Japan, Chang said.
Hey Song marketing division director Stewart Tsai (蔡耀光) said that the drinks market in Taiwan is similar to that of Japan and new carbonated drinks, like carbonated tea and Calpis, helped boost sales of carbonated drinks by 14 percent in Japan in 2011.
The investment plan came after Hey Song posted record-high revenues of NT$5.66 billion for last year. The figure was an increase of 4.47 percent from NT$5.42 billion posted the previous year.
Sales of the sports drink FIN increased by 53 percent from a year ago, while sales of Kinmen Kaoliang rose 15 percent, Hey Song said in a statement.
Hey Song made approximately NT$2 billion in revenue from its partnership with liquor producer Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc (金酒公司) last year, the company said.
The company’s revenue was also boosted by the sale of a plot of land in Taipei’s business area adjacent to the Breeze Center (微風廣場) department store for NT$8.2 billion last year.
Looking ahead, Chang said he is confident that the company will increase growth and it is eyeing possible continuing cooperation with Kinmen Kaoliang and expanding its operations to the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport by installing 80 new vending machines there.
Shares of Hey Song rose 0.65 percent to NT$38.6 yesterday.