A taste of things to come
PNG food company ramping up operations
The 100-year-old Australasian company Goodman Fielder was acquired last year by the Singapore-based edible oils company Wilmar International, and Hong-Kong based investment company First Pacific, for PGK3.02 billion. It signalled a shift to integrate the company more into the Asian region.
Jean-Michel Lejeune, general manager at Goodman Fielder PNG, who was formerly general manager of Nestle PNG, has been in the new role for nine months.
He says that the new owners of the company are taking a long-term view of the business.
The new owners appear to have the size to adopt the long view. Wilmar claims to be the largest agribusiness group in Asia, with interests in edible oils, sugar milling and refining, grain processing and consumer foods. First Pacific owns 50 per cent of Indonesia’s largest food company, Indofood.
In a counter-cyclical strategy, Wilmar has committed to a major investment in PNG, despite the current economic challenges. The company says once plans have been finalised, construction will begin on a large, modern Buhler-designed flourmill in Lae.
The multi-million kina project will increase capacity, enabling the company to produce enough high-quality flour per day to keep up with demand from PNG’s growing population. A more modern stock feed mill is also planned.
Goodman Fielder first established operations in PNG in 1975 through Associated Mills Limited, producing flour and stock feed. It currently has a flourmill in Lae and a second mill in Port Moresby, along with a bakery. The company presently produces Flame Flour, Twisties and Pops Snacks, Flame Stock Feed, Bilas Bread and Cakes and Arthurs Pies in PNG.
Goodman Fielder PNG also sells other products such as Meadow Lea, Praise, Cornwells, White Wings and Meadow Fresh long-life milk, which are produced in Australia and New Zealand.
Lejeune says that some new products are being introduced this year, most of which will be produced in PNG.
“The takeover has energised Goodman Fielder PNG and our challenge now is to maintain that momentum,” says Lejeune. “The company really believes in PNG and is currently increasing its management capacity by recruiting the top experts in a range of fields.”
The new owners’ intention (is) to take Goodman Fielder from the premier Australasian food company to a leading Asian and Pacific Islands food company.
Jean- Michel Lejeune … the Goodman Fielder general manager says new PNG-made products will be introduced to the company’s range and a large flourmill will be built in Lae.