Italian comfort footwear firm Fly Flot is to move its production outside Europe for the first time through a new joint venture with Mauritius-based Pavers Foresight Smart Ventures to set up a manufacturing plant in India.

Under the terms of the arrangement, both partners will invest EUR2m (US$2.7m) in a greenfield plant in Tamil Nadu, from where 80% of production will be exported.

Fly Flot is one of Europe's largest shoe brands, producing around 7.2m pairs of shoes each year which are sold in 57 countries.

The joint venture aims to produce 1m pairs during the first phase, with the possibility of raising this to 2m pairs by 2012.

Pavers Foresight Smart Ventures is also setting up a US$5m footwear design development studio at Ambur in Tamil Nadu.

Pavers Foresight Smart Ventures is a 50:50 joint venture between the London-based Foresight Group and UK-based footwear retailer Pavers Ltd.