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Johannesburg - Nampak Ltd., South Africa’s largest packaging company, plans to double production capacity at its glassmaking unit by January 2014 as it seeks to become a more dominant player in its domestic market.

The Johannesburg-based company will add a third furnace to its existing glass production line at a cost of 1 billion rand ($110 million), doubling the capacity to 200,000 metric tons, Graham Hayward, the company’s investor relations manager, said in a phone interview today. “We have a 20 percent market share on the glass side in South Africa. Some customers want us to become a bigger supplier,” he said.

Production of cans will increase by almost one billion units after investment in a new high speed aluminum line, Hayward said. “The conversion process is from tinplate to aluminum. It will help increase recycling,” he said. The combined cost of the glass and tin projects will be 1.6 billion rand, Nampak said in an earlier statement.

The shares closed 1 percent higher at 31.95 rand in Johannesburg trading. The stock has gained 0.3 percent this year, compared with a 4.2 percent advance in the 164 company FTSE/JSE All Share Index.

Nampak said hot weather in South Africa had resulted in strong demand for canned beverages over recent months, while spending on other consumer goods had been more subdued. Even with challenging economic conditions in South Africa, Nampak remains “confident of a further improvement in performance in 2013,” it said in the statement. - Reuters