Capacity at the Phyto-Source plant will be increased by 50 per cent to 1,500 metric tonnes, driven by demand for its phytosterol-based products.
Charles Butt, president and CEO of Forbes Medi-Tech, said: "We believe that interest in cholesterol-lowering ingredients will continue to rise and that this expansion will allow us to develop the infrastructure to support this expectedgrowth."
A heart-health claim approved by the US Food and Drug Administration earlier this year provided a welcome boost for manufacturers marketing phytosterol-based products.
A bigger plant would also provide Forbes with the means to address an increase in product demand should Reducol be approved under the European Union Novel Foods regulations.
Swiss firm Novartis applied for novel foods approval for Reducol in September 2000. The firm is currently awaiting assessment by the European Food Safety Authority.
Costs for the plant expansion will be funded from revenue generated by the Phyto-source joint venture with a portion of new equipment cost to be financed by the Southwest Bank of Texas and guaranteed by the joint venture partners, Forbes USA and Chusei (USA).
The increased plant capacity is scheduled to beavailable mid 2004.