IJM Plantations Bhd (IJMP) plans to invest up to RM80mil over the next three years in developing land reserved for oil palm and expanding plant capacity.
Managing director Velayuthan Tan Kim Song said IJMP was currently developing 4,900ha of jungle reserves into oil palm plantation and expected complete the project in two years.
The company, he said, planned to gradually raise the size of its land bank to 40,000ha and become an integrated player in the oil palm industry through downstream activities like refining and specialty fats manufacturing in future. The company currently owns 29,000ha of plantation land, all located in Sandakan, Sabah.
Tan said the company was also upgrading the capacity of one of its three palm oil mills and its palm kernel crushing plant.
By next March, the capacity of the mills will increase to 60 tonnes per hour from 30 tonnes currently, he told the media after the company formally took over the listing status of Rahman Hydraulics Bhd on the KLSE main board in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The palm kernel crushing plant would, by the end of 2004, have a capacity of 600 tonnes per day, up from 240 tonnes a day at present, he added.
IJMP, which is principally involved in oil palm cultivation, processing of palm products, provision of agro-management, trading of agri-products and investment holding, is a 49% associate company of construction-based IJM Corp Bhd. It took over the listing status of Rahman Hydraulics under a restructuring exercise.
IJMP currently operates three palm oil mills with a total processing capacity of 700,000 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) with yield per hectare averaging 26.4 tonnes.
The company expects double-digit annual growth in FFB production for the next five year, which would have a positive impact on its financial performance. It posted a pre-tax profit of RM29.4mil for the year ended Dec 31, 2002.
With increased FFB production and prevailing high prices for palm products , IJMP's pre-tax profit for the year ending Dec 31, 2003, is expected to be significantly higher than 2002, Tan said.
IJMP shares opened at 99 sen yesterday, 49 sen above their reference price of 50 sen, with 33,200 units changing hands/
The counter, the second most active of the day, was later traded to a high of RM1.15 and a low of 77.5 sen before closing at 79.5 sen on total volume of 20.309 million shares.