Ta Ann to invest RM50m in 2nd mill

SARAWAK timber and oil palm giant, TA Ann Holdings Bhd, is to invest RM50 million in a second crude palm oil (CPO) mill this year.

Its group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Wong Kuo Hea said the mill, to be sited in Igan near Sibu, will have a capacity of 90 tonnes per hour. He was speaking to reporters after the group's annual general meeting in Sibu yesterday.

Wong said its logging and oil palm divisions were still the main contributors to group profit, contributing 54 per cent and 39 per cent, respectively.

On its oil palm division's target this year, he said it is to develop another 4,400ha in Igan, Daro and Matu in the Mukah Division.

The group as of December last year had a total planted area of 26,056ha comprising 13,984ha of matured area, 6,699ha of immature area and 5,373ha of young palms. "If the current market price at RM2,300 per tonne for the commodity is maintained, we can expect an even bigger contribution from it this year to our bottom line," he said.

For the logging division, Wong said it was able to export 63 per cent more logs at 226,601 cubic metres last year, compared to 139,328 in 2008.

"Log prices remained resilient in the year under review and the division revenue was 30.6 per cent higher. India remained the largest buyer, accounting for 70 per cent," he disclosed.

Meanwhile, Wong Said Ta Ann too had achieved another environmental milestone, when it signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the WWF Malaysia in "Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN)" on December 8 last year. It became the first public-listed company in the state to support responsible forestry.

"We are going forward in our forest certification. Hopefully, three years from now, we can get our forest certified. Once we have achieved this, our products will be certified as coming from a legal and sustainable source," he explained.

He said by facilitating trade links between companies committed to responsible forestry, the GFTN would create a market condition that helps to conserve forests, while providing economic and social benefits for the businesses and the people dependent on it.

"In other words, there will be better market connectivity, wider market prospects and product acceptance for Ta Ann through this network of buyers," Wong said. -- Bernama

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