Adidas sportswear supplier Augusta Manufacturing is investing $5m at its factory in Nicaragua to create 500 jobs by the end of this year, and expects to double its workforce in 2012.

The US-based manufacturer has been established in Nicaragua's free zone sector since November 2011, and has been selected to produce Adidas basketball shorts. It also makes garments for brands such as Kenneth Cole, Quicksilver, Roxy, DKNY and Calvin Klein in other countries.

Nike products are also being produced in Nicaragua by New Holland Apparel, a US company operating under the free zone sector, according to ProNicaragua, the country's industrial development authority.

This company has 10,000 square feet of industrial space, employs around 2,000 people, and also supplies sportswear for brands like Under Armour and Reebok.

According to Javier Chamorro Rubiales, executive director of ProNicaragua, both Adidas and Nike are looking at further expanding their supplier base in the country.

The latest figures from the US Commerce Department show Nicaraguan garment exports to the US from January to September this year increased 20% percent in terms of volume and 37.3% in terms of value, reaching 314 square metre equivalents (SMEs) and US$1,006m, respectively.

ProNicaragua says this makes Nicaragua the country in Central America with the highest growth in apparel exports (in volume) to the US compared to the same period last year.