Soft drink bottler PepsiAmericas Inc said it plans to invest roughly $150 million by 2011 in a plant it opened on Tuesday in southern Romania, the company's second-largest facility in Europe.

PepsiAmericas' investment is among the largest this year in recession-hit Romania, where foreign direct investment is expected to fall by more than half to around 4 billion euros ($5.74 billion) from last year's 9 billion euros.

Like most of its neighbours, European Union state Romania has also seen consumption plunge as the world crisis dried up credit lines, boosted unemployment and soured consumer mood.

But Pepsi said it expected the Romanian market to pick up late next year.

The evolution of the market has had some drawbacks due to the evolution of the economy, Mike Holmes, head of PepsiAmericas Romania told reporters.

January may have looked a little bleak but with the new capability we have ... I am confident we'll be able to overcome any hurdles due to the economic downturn. It (Romania) is still a pretty darn good place to do business.

The firm has already invested $85 million in the plant, its third in Romania, which will raise overall Romanian output by 35 percent and will employ 250 people on completion.

The plant will cater solely to the local market. (Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Rupert Winchester)