Benetton's 'Nitex' clothing factory in the southern Serbian city of Nis is set to employ 2,000 workers by the end of 2013, rising to 2,700 once its renovation is fully completed the following year.

The Italian knitwear giant bought the government-owned facility last year as part of an EUR43m (US$62.5m) investment to strengthen its position in the Balkans.

Touring the factory last week, Serbia's deputy prime minister for economic and regional development, Verica Kalanovic, said four factories have been rebuilt, while others are still being constructed.

Currently, 400 workers are employed and by the end of 2014 the textile centre will have taken on 2,700 workers - contributing EUR72m to the group's annual turnover once it starts operating at full capacity.

The Italians will use the plant for knitwear and woven textile clothing production, primarily for export worldwide, with a capacity of 1m garments.