Ardagh Group is planning investments in its glass manufacturing facilities, its Chairman and Chief Executive Paul Coulson said.

The glass and metals packager plans to invest $1.8 billion across its business over the next four years. The majority of this will be focused on its cans business with approximately 15% of this to be invested in its glass division.

The investment will be in growth projects in Europe as well as cost reduction and efficiency enhancing projects in North America.

New capacity brought on stream will be supported by new long-term customer contracts, said Mr Coulson.

He said: “We also see good opportunities for our glass business, especially in Europe.

"While COVID has caused some short-term changes in demand patterns, we believe the positive outlook for our substrates is underpinned by long-term consumer trends and preferences as well as structural factors, most of which we expect to endure.”

Some furnace rebuilds will take place in its European business in Q4 this year, he added.

Revenue for its Glass Packaging Europe division was 10% higher than the same period last year at $472 million, it said in its third quarter financial report.

Volume mix increased by 8% as on-premise channels across Europe reopened during the quarter. This drove growth in beer and non-alcoholic beverages. Food sector demand was also strong.

Its Glass Packaging, North America division reported revenue of $429 million which was 2% lower than the same period last year.

This was due to a lower volume mix of 2%, and lower beer and spirits offset a strengthening in wine and other beverages.

Mr Coulson added: “In glass, we will invest in incremental capacity in 2021 to support newly contracted business principally in premium beer.

“Glass Europe has successfully managed the challenges of COVID-19, and we see the business is well placed to continue to develop organically as a supplier of choice to its market-leading customers.”

The investment programme will be funded from existing cash resources, free cash flow and, where necessary, incremental debt.