Thailand: F&N opens S$110m canned milk plant in Thailand

SINGAPORE: Singapore-listed Fraser and Neave (F&N) has officially launched its largest food and beverage investment in Thailand so far.

The S$110 million canned milk plant is part of the conglomerate’s strategy to become a leading food and beverage player in the Asia Pacific region.

With the opening of the new plant, F&N expects to double the revenue out of its Thailand dairy operations to S$691 million by 2016. It also has aggressive plans to increase Indochina revenue for dairy at a rate of 40 per cent to 50 per cent annually.

Located about 70 kilometres outside of Bangkok, the Rojana plant is equipped to serve a consumer base of over 200 million, covering Thailand and Indochina.

Mr Koh Poh Tiong, F&N’s Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Beverage Division, said the plant will also open doors and provide the potential to set up new plants in countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as tap into opportunities in fast growing economies.

“When the time is right, the volume is right, then we will do the factory, then there is export opportunities to Africa, to Cyprus,” Mr Koh said.

The Thai plant will serve as a blueprint for the group’s new S$150 million plant at Pulau Indah in Port Klang, Malaysia, which is due to be completed in the second half of 2011.

F&N said the two new plants will collectively make the dairies division of the F&N Group the largest canned milk producer in the world.

Mr Koh said: “We will export to the Middle East, to Bangladesh, to Indonesia. They will feel comfortable, the consumer, because it is from a Halal hub in a Muslim country. So, these two mega plants, I would say, are the anchor of our dairy business.”

For the first half of FY 2010/2011, the Thai dairy business registered a revenue of S$196 million, contributing 24 per cent to the total revenue of Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd.