Thursday October 14, 2004 - ALTHOUGH appointed PPB Oil Palms Bhd managingdirector just two months ago, Khoo Eng Min is no stranger to PPB group andthe oil palm industry.
Khoo was the man behind the smooth running of the group's oil palmplantation operations in Sabah and Sarawak since 1986, and Indonesia since2002.
Best described as a true blue plantation man, he started his career withDunlop Estates Bhd in 1966 and served the company for about 21 years asplantations controller, prior to joining the PPB group.
Having now been with the PPB group for 18 years, I personally think thatPPB Oil Palms has made tremendous progress since it ventured into the oilpalm business in the mid-1980s, Khoo told StarBiz in an interview in KualaLumpur.
He said PPB Oil Palms started as the plantation division of PPB Group Bhd(then Perlis Plantations Bhd) with its first oil palm estate in Sarawak(Saremas Plantation), followed by a second in Sapi Estate, Sabah.
Khoo said many thought that Sapi Estate would be a loss-making venture inthe first few years of operations.
However, within just one month, we managed to solve the teething problemsand make money.
In the first year, the plantation was already generating a few millionringgit in profits, he said.
Since then, we at PPB Oil Palms have never turned back, he said.
We managed to bring Sapi Estate back to its full potential and this helpedboost our confidence to expand further in Sarawak, Sabah and later,Indonesia, he added.
Acheh-born Khoo said as a plantation man, it was more exciting andchallenging to turn around an under-performing and unproductive oil palmestate (into a well managed and lucrative outfit), compared with runningan established plantation.
To planters, the cost of production and increasing yields always go handin hand, he said.
In PPB Oil Palms, Khoo said the company strictly adhered to its 3E motto -increasing Efficiency, Effectiveness and Economies of scale.
Our aim is to convert logged-over jungle into oil palm estates with highyield potential, while remaining conscious of the environment andsustainable and clean palm oil production.
We want to position the company to achieve greater heights by focusing oncost efficiency and expansion. Even in expansion, we are conscious of costcontrol, he said.
Khoo said PPB Oil Palms had grown into one of PPB group's main corebusinesses and contributed a significant portion to the group's profits.