UP ties up with Fuji Oil to build RM145mil plant

Plant to pro­duce and sell high value-added palm oil frac­tions

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - News - By HANIM AD­NAN nem@thes­tar.com.my

PE­TAL­ING JAYA: Plan­ta­tion group United Plan­ta­tions Bhd (UP) has formed a joint ven­ture (JV) with Ja­pan-based Fuji Oil Group to build an RM145mil high-tech palm oil pro­cess­ing plant in Ulu Ber­nam, Perak.

Ac­cord­ing to UP chief ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Datuk Carl Bek-Nielsen, Uni­fuji Sdn Bhd, a 50:50 JV com­pany be­tween UP and Fuji Oil’s sub­sidiary Fuji Oil Asia Pte Ltd, will man­age the new plant which will pro­duce and sell high value-added palm oil frac­tions.

The plant is slated for com­mis­sion by June next year.

On fi­nanc­ing, Bek-Nielsen told StarBiz: “As this is a JV, the cost will com­men­su­rate be­tween both Fuji Oil and UP.

“UP has ad­e­quate liq­uid­ity avail­able to fund its share of the project from its in­ter­nal funds, which also ap­plies to Fuji Oil.

“We will de­cide on how to op­ti­mise this in due course,” added Bek-Nielsen.

Both com­pa­nies have de­cided to build the high-tech plant in UP’s Ulu Ber­nam es­tate, which is in a ru­ral area, as “we feel that com­pa­nies also have an obli­ga­tion to help pro­mote em­ploy­ment to Malaysians who live in ru­ral ar­eas and not just in ur­ban dwellings,” he ex­plained.

Op­er­a­tion-wise, Bek-Nielsen said the raw ma­te­ri­als for the high-tech plant would only be sourced from UP es­tates.

“It is im­por­tant to note that ev­ery drop of palm oil used for this project will be cer­ti­fied sus­tain­able palm oil in ac­cor­dance with the Roundtable on Sus­tain­able Palm Oil cri­te­ria and ear­marked for ex­port mar­kets in­clud­ing the Euro­pean Union.”

Fur­ther­more, the JV part­ners have also agreed that Uni­fuji would only em­ploy Malaysians at the pro­posed new plant, said Bek-Nielsen.

More im­por­tantly, the JV com­pany would be pro­vid­ing mod­ern hous­ing fa­cil­i­ties for its em­ploy­ees in­clud­ing free wa­ter, free elec­tric­ity and free med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties that will also be com­pleted early in the new year.

This is to en­sure all em­ploy­ees for the new project will be given first class hous­ing fa­cil­i­ties, which is in line with the UP trade­mark.

On the ra­tio­nale for the JV be­tween Fuji Oil and UP, Bek-Nielsen said: “This is to build on each com­pany’s more than 100 years of com­mit­ment to­wards sus­tain­abil­ity, qual­ity and in­no­va­tion.”

“There is no doubt that the de­mands of the global con­sumer just gets stricter and stricter and in that con­nec­tion we feel that there is long term value in striv­ing to raise the bench­mark to new lev­els of sus­tain­abil­ity and qual­ity.

“I re­main supremely con­fi­dent that we can achieve this and show that palm oil can be the best in class when it comes to min­imis­ing car­bon foot print vis-a-vis all the other oils and fats,” he added.

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