CHICAGO, June 19 (Reuters) - U.S. multinational agribusiness giant Cargill Inc said on Thursday it has invested $100 million to expand its wheat milling at its Efremov, Russia, grain complex, nearly doubling its processing capacity to 500,000 tonnes of wheat a year.
The Efremov complex, which employs more than 800 people, produces starches and sweeteners from corn, barley, wheat and other grains for use in soft drinks, beer, confectionery and flour. Starch is shipped to the paper and corrugated cardboard industries.
"This project is a reflection of our commitment to the Tula region and to Russia," Natalia Orlova, head of Cargill's food business in Russia, said in a statement.
Cargill opened its Russian office in Moscow in 1991 and opened the Efremov plant in 1995, its first investment in Russia.
The expansion comes as Tula and the fertile Black Sea grain belt in general have become a major exporting region. Russia is now projected to be the world's third-largest wheat exporter this season behind the United States and Canada.
Minneapolis-based Cargill, one of the world's largest privately held companies, operates in 67 countries. (Reporting by Christine Stebbins; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)