The new furnace, which will be in full operation by the second half of 2007, will increase the output of glass containers from the Auckland plant by 60 per cent, according to the company. This will allow it to replace imported glass from the Middle East and Asia with locally made glass packaging. The move is designed to support the growing glass container and exported wine markets in New Zealand. "The expansion at Penrose allows the company to broaden its market base in the Asia Pacific region by providing more locally manufactured glass," said Greg Ridder, president of O-I Asia Pacific. "Additionally, it is good for the community as O-I will be using a significant amount of recycled glass currently in the waste stream for use in glass production."The New Zealand plant, established in 1922, employs 186 people and supplies the wine, beer, spirits, carbonated soft drink, juice, and food industries. Owen-Illinois reported revenue of $7.2 billion last year.