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By Kamo Kini

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Sept. 30) – Kulim Berhad, the Malaysian owner of New Britain Palm Oil Ltd. in Papua New Guinea, hopes to expand its operations to the Solomon Islands by early next year, it was disclosed yesterday.

The company’s managing director, Ahamad Mohamad, told the second Kulim Conference in Kimbe that the expansion is part of the vision by the group to increase its capacity as demonstrated by its growth trend over the past decade.

"We are hopeful that by January 2005, we will be expanding out to the Solomon Islands," Mr Mohamad told participants at the conference, staged at the newly built Mosa Management Center located next to NBPOL headquarters outside Kimbe town.

He said the Malaysian company started off with less than 30,000 hectares of palm oil in 1994 but has since increased to 80,00 hectares of plantations.

Mr Mohamad said the construction of the refinery at Kumbango, Papua New Guinea, last year was further testimony to the group’s vision towards sustainable growth.

"We have surpassed all expectations and we are moving towards creating new market opportunities that would also include PNG," he said.

Apart from its PNG operations, which proved to be very profitable, Kulim has major oil palm operations in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Almost 50 percent of Kulim's revenue is generated in the country,

Mr Mohamad boldly predicted that the group would double its production by 2007.

"By 2006, we will double our oil chemicals and triple it the year after that," he said. "We would also start planting 10,000 hectares a year at the same time."

The Johor Corporation, a state-owned company in Malaysia, owns Kulim.

October 1, 2004

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