KOTA KINABALU: Sabah wants to go further in the downstream processing of its palm oil and other related products by tying up with four China-based firms.
State-owned POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd has signed agreements with Tangshan Chunhua Grain & Oil Croup Co Ltd, Xinji Xinyuan Biotech Co Ltd, Top Honesty Biotechnology Co Ltd and Hong Kong-based Utility Sugar Trading Ltd.
The deals were inked during a four-day visit by a Malaysian team led by Deputy Plantation and Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Nasrun Mansur.
“Sabah has vast tracts of oil palm plantations and much of our palm oil is exported in raw form.
“We are still waiting for serious investors to exploit the biochemical potentials,” he said at the signing ceremony with the four firms in Beijing.
Nasrun, the Lahad Datu MP and POIC Sabah chairman, said there was much interest in Sabah among China’s business community especially in the property, tourism and manufacturing sectors.
In this regard, the teaming with China companies would benefit Sabah in terms of their expertise and exposure in technologies, financial strength and marketing.
Chunhua, based in Tangshan City in Hebei province, is a 38-year-old company specialised in agriculture products and edible oil, especially peanut oil, processing some 300,000 tonnes per year.
It also value-adds to the various types of edible oil it refines and has moved upstream into planting its own raw materials. It currently owns a 10,000ha peanut plantation in Sudan.
Xinji Xinyuan Biotech is part of the Xingyuan Group, based in Xinji City. The group was incorporated in 1990, specialising in machinery such as boiler, foam & plastic machines, and is increasingly being known for its aggressive forays into producing activated carbon from waste materials.
It also has factories producing bio-coal and activated carbon from coconut shells sourced from Johor, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
The super absorbent activated carbon are in huge demand in China to satisfy the demand of a programme to rehabilitate vast areas of farm land made toxic by years of unabated fertiliser, weed-killer and pesticide use.
Utility Sugar Trading Ltd, based in Hong Kong, is a major global supplier of sugar and syrup set up in 1985, with an annual turnover of about US$60mil (RM260.3mil).
Macau-based Top Honesty Group is a public-listed company with a market capitalisation of US$59.6mil (RM258mil). Its core businesses are in consumer durables and renewable energy.
POIC Sabah is developing the pall oil industrial cluster in Lahad Datu is in the forefront of promoting Sabah as a global investment destination in palm oil and biomass downstream.
Established in 2015, the park has attracted more than RM4bil in investments. With an operating bulk terminal, a liquid terminal, a barge landing point and a RM450mil container terminal due for completion in 2018, it is known for being the industrial park with the most comprehensive port facilities in one location.