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NEWS ADMIN

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

DATE

24/06/2003

NEWS PROVIDER

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

NEWS SOURCE

Business Times

CATEGORY

HEADLINE

Kulim goes downstream
Tuesday, June 24 2003 - KULIM (M) Bhd, fresh from acquiring twosubsidiaries of its parent company Johor Corp, aims to stamp its mark inthe lucrative oleochemical industry by going further downstream.

Apart from consolidating its palm oil business, Kulim has pumped RM17.85million into establishing a soap noodle (bulk soap) factory in PasirGudang, Johor.

The factory, which has an annual production capacity of 45,000 tonnes,began operations last month. The soap noodles are exported to the US,Europe and China.

Kulim also manufactures other oleochemical products such as fatty acidsand glycerin through its subsidiary Natural Oleochemicals Sdn Bhd(Natoleo).

Natoleo, in turn, is the parent company of Dubois Natural Esters Sdn Bhdwhich manufactures esters another oleochemical product.

These plants are currently being upgraded to increase their annualproduction output by 44 per cent and 55 per cent respectively by November.

Kulim chairman Tan Sri Muhammad Ali Hashim said the group was shifting itsfocus away from its core oil palm business, which contributed two-thirdsof its total RM900.76 million revenue last year.

He said Kulim’s oleochemical business, which generated the remainder,would be expanded to enable it to contribute at least 50 per cent of thegroup’s turnover in the future.

Oleochemicals earned Kulim RM295.53 million last year, which is a third ofour total revenue collection. We want to expand our oleochemicaloperations to strike a good balance with our palm oil business, he said.

Speaking to reporters after Kulim’s annual general meeting yesterday,Muhammad Ali said oleochemical production could help stabilise the group’sturnover whenever palm oil prices dropped.

Also present was Kulim managing director Ahamad Mohamad, who said moredownstream oleochemical projects were in store for Kulim. He declined toprovide further details.

Kulim recently acquired Kumpulan Bertam Plantations Bhd and EPA ManagementSdn Bhd from JCorp for RM93.2 million, expanding its ownership of oil palmplantations in Indonesia by another 70,000ha.

It currently has 29,000ha of plantations in Malaysia, 27,000ha in PapuaNew Guinea and 10,000ha in Indonesia.