BEIJING: State-owned POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd signed memorandum of understanding with four China companies here Thursday that has once again brought into focus the economic potentials in oil palm and biomass in the state.
The four companies are Hebei-based Tangshan Chunhua Grain & Oil Croup Co Ltd and Xinji Xinyuan Biotech Co Ltd; and Top Honesty Biotechnology Co Ltd and Hong Kong-based Utility Sugar Trading Ltd.
The signing was witnessed by Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) Nasrun Haji Mansur, who welcomed the China companies’ interest in Sabah the credited it as a result of promotional efforts undeterred by current economic challenges.
Nasrun noted that all four companies have footprints around the globe and in sectors that can exploit the vast potentials in the abundance of palm oil and oil palm-based biomass.
“We (Sabah) have a lot (about 1.5 million hectares) of oil palm plantations. We export most of our crude palm oil and are still waiting for serious investors to exploit the biochemical potentials,” he told investors in a MPIC seminar in the Chinese city.”
Nasrun, who is also Member of Parliament of Lahad Datu and chairman of POIC Sabah, pointed to recent trends in China’s interests in Malaysia evidenced by massive investments in properties and industries, as well as growing tourist arrivals.
“We in Sabah can surely benefit from your company’s 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 and processes about 300,000 metric tons per year.
It also value-adds to the various types of edible oil it refines, and has gone upstream into planting its own raw materials, including a10,000-hectare 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 in Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Peninsular Malaysia (Johor), and has sent feelers to Sabah to identify the feasibility of using oil palm biomass to produce the two products.
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$60 million.
Top Honesty Group, based out of Macau, is a public-listed company with a market capitalisation of USD59.6 million. Its core businesses are in consumer durables and renewable energy.