10/04/2008 (Khaleej Times Online), Kuala Lumpur — Dubai Group, the financial-services unit of Dubai Investment Group, bought a 30 per cent stake in a Malaysian biodiesel company for $49.5 million to help the venture expand capacity and develop new estates.
GBD Investment Ltd. has a 200,000 metric tonne biodiesel plant in the Malaysian state of Sabah, the largest in Southeast Asia, Dubai Group said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
GBD Investment uses both palm oil and jatropha to produce biodiesel, it said. The proceeds from Dubai Group's investment
will be used to boost output capacity and develop jatropha plantations in the Philippines.
Asian biodiesel companies are seeking alternative crops to use as feedstock after crude palm oil prices rose to a record.
Jatropha is a hardy plant that produces seeds containing an oil that can be converted to methyl esters and used in biodiesel.
Unlike palm oil, it's not edible.
The jatropha plantations, which will cover up to 200,000 hectares (494,200 acres), will have a potential annual production of 750,000 tonnes of crude oil, Dubai Group said.
Boeing Co., the world's second-largest maker of commercial aircraft, is among companies examining jatropha's potential energy use. GEM BioFuels Plc, which grows jatropha in Madagascar, was selling the oil at about $500 a tonne, compared with palm oil, which traded at 3,393 ringgit ($1,066) a tonne in Malaysia yesterday.