Merial, the Animal Health division of the sanofi-aventis Group, has announced that Merial Animal Health Co. (China) held a ground-breaking ceremony for an expansion project at its plant located in the Nanchang Hi-tech Development Zone, China. Merial Animal Health Co. (China), a venture of Merial Limited and the Group's first production facility in China has been in operation for almost 20 years. The facility in Nanchang produces poultry vaccines for the domestic Chinese market. Upon completion of the expansion project, which earmarks an estimated total investment of over 70 million US dollars, the production capacity of the Nanchang plant will double. The new facility covers a land of 50,000 square meters, with a phase I floor area of nearly 30,000 square meters. "Merial has been operating with our partners in China for nearly 20 years," declared Jose Barella, Executive Chairman of Merial. "During that time, we have been proud to have joined our Chinese partner organizations in enhancing the quantity and quality of poultry protein to meet the ever-increasing demand by consumers here. Now, with the establishment of this new state-of-the-art facility, we have the ability to further apply the latest in modern avian vaccine technology and further contribute to the country's production of poultry protein, and help feed a vibrant and modern China. We hope that this milestone in our growing relationship with China is a symbol of our commitment to this market, and an indication of our desire to further expand our operations in the future." The expansion project is expected to extend Merial's leadership in China in terms of high-quality vaccine offerings as well as sales, technical support and logistics, and positions Merial as a truly trusted partner for Chinese customers and veterinary professionals for business excellence.