Guthrie to revamp estate ops


KUMPULAN Guthrie Bhd is expected to announce a major management reshuffle that could result in Othman Walat being appointed the head of plantations for Indonesia and Malaysia. 

Othman, 53, has nearly 30 years of experience with the group and is currently director of plantation advisory and management services. before joining Guthrie, he was scheme manager at the Federal Land Development Authority. 

Othman Walat

Sources said the new appointment was aimed at strengthening the Guthrie group's operation in line with its current restructuring and planned listing, next year, of its Indonesian plantation unit, PT Minamas Gemilang, on the Jakarta Stock Exchange. 

Guthrie is currently in the midst of a restructuring involving units Highland and Lowland Bhd (Hi&Lo) and Guthrie Ropel Bhd (GRopel). 

The revamp will result in Guthrie assuming all of the group's plantation assets, the delisting of GRopel, and the transfer of its property operation to Guthrie Property Development Holdings Sdn Bhd, which will assume Hi&Lo's listed status. 

The sources said the newly created post meant that Othman would lead the group's plantation operations in Malaysia and Indonesia. 

Currently, the two countries have their own directors of plantations: Abu Hanifah Abdul Wahid is director of Malaysian plantations, while the Indonesian plantations unit is without a head following the recent departure of Rosely Kusip. 

The move is expected to strengthen Guthrie's plantation management in the two countries and streamline the group's organisational structure, the sources said. 

The new position means that Othman will be responsible for almost all of the group's plantation and mill operations in Malaysia and Indonesia. Northern peninsula plantation operations, though, will remain under Hanifah. 

Othman was expected to use his years in plantations to the group's advantage, the sources said. 

He is one of the group's few senior managers who graduated from Kolej Pertanian Malaya, Serdang. Others include Abu Hanipah and Abdul Aziz Abu Bakar, director of management information system and knowledge management. 

Guthrie is also expected to appoint a new manager for its Jakarta office. 

Guthrie currently has about 100,200ha of planted areas in Malaysia, and 162,600ha in Sulawesi, Palembang and Kalimantan in Indonesia.  

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