KLK eyes more plantations overseas

KUALA LUMPUR: Top 20 heavyweight Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK) is exploring opportunities overseas to grow its oil palm and rubber plantation landbank to 300,000 hectares from over 250,000, currently. Chief executive officer Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian said the company is looking at Africa, South America and southeast Asian countries where it has yet to set foot in. 

“Internal studies have been done. Currently, we are evaluating them,” he told a media briefing here yesterday. Lee said KLK has not set any time frame and is waiting for the right time to make further moves. 

The company has also set a target to increase its fresh fruit bunch (FFB) production by 8 to 10 per cent of the current 3.3 million tonnes, over the next two years. 

This could be achieved based on the age profiles of its existing plantations, the increase in harvested areas and improved productivity through good agricultural practices, he said. To support the growth in FFB production, Lee said, the company plans to build another palm oil mill in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, on top of the three new mills currently under construction. To date, the company has eight palm oil mills in Indonesia.

On the oleochemical division, Lee said KLK has set aside around RM700 million to build oleochemical facilities, including another fatty alcohol plant and research and development facilities, in Malaysia. These are expected to be ready in two years, he added. 

He said KLK's team of engineers and chemists are formulating a comprehensive product portfolio to take advantage of the rising global demand for oleochemicals. “Malaysia is still a small market for oleochemicals. The key users are overseas and so, it’ll be export-driven,” he said. Currently, the oleochemicals division contribute to 17 per cent of the group’s profits.

On the properties division, KLK planned to have four to five launches in the next eight months within the Sungai Buloh area, he said. --Bernama

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