Portuguese bottle maker BA Glass plans to invest in the expansion of its Bulgarian capacity.

BA Glass intends to build two new furnaces to double the production capacity of its facilities in Bulgaria.

The company currently operates two furnaces in the country - in Sofia and Plovdiv.

BA Glass acquired Bulgaria's Drujba Glassworks from Greek glassmaker Yioula in 2017.

Since then it invested in its Plovdiv site with a new end-fired regenerative furnace which increased capacity by 70%. It also included four automated lines where beer bottles will be produced.

The new furnace, which became operational this year, is expected to help the company increase its output in the country from 330,000 tonnes of glass packaging in 2018 to 340,000 tonnes this year and 380,000 tonnes in 2020.

The company has also built a new electrostaticfilter for nitrogen and sulphur oxides that purifies gases from all the plant’s furnaces. An investment has also been made for a 10,000m2 closed warehouse.

A second furnace will be constructed again in Plovdiv next year, replacing the existing one, with its capacity doubled. A second kiln will be built at the plant in Sofia, where a furnace is currently in operation, which will double production.

In parallel, investments in warehouses, infrastructure and other smaller projects are underway.

The total investment is expected to reach close to BGN 400 million over five years, although the bulk of the funds will be invested next year and beyond.

The investment in Plovdiv has significantly improved the energy efficiency of the plant, with consumption of energy sources (mainly natural gas as well as electricity) falling by 38-40%.

As natural gas also means more carbon emissions, which have risen sharply in the last year, the goal of the company is to use more electricity when replacing furnaces, even though its cost is expected to rise.