Vietnam: Largest malting plant in South-East Asia inaugurated

Interflour, headquartered in Singapore and a joint venture of West Australian grain growers' cooperative CBH andIndonesia’s Salim Group, has opened a new $US70 million malt plan in Cai Mep, a port area south-east of Ho Chi Minh City/Vietnam. The venture, called Intermalt is able to produce 120,000 tons of malt per year and is said to be the largest malting plant in South-East Asia.

A majority of the barley for the new malthouse will be sourced in West Australia, because of the short nine-day shipping distance and competitive shipping freight rates of about $20 a ton. “It will be a new chapter for Western Australian barley growers who now have direct access to Vietnam’s burgeoning beer market – the fastest growing beer market in Asia,” said CBH Chairman Wally Newman. “We have had a presence in Vietnam for 12 years through our investment in building the deep water port terminal at Cai Mep and large scale storage facility as well as our flour milling operations,” Harvey said. “It made good sense to leverage the supply chain and with the beer market growing at such a strong rate in Vietnam, malting was an obvious choice for us. Traditionally this market has been dominated by European malt supply but we are opening the Vietnamese market to a supply more focused from the Asia-Pacific region, using predominantly Western Australian barley.”

Heineken Vietnam Corporate Affairs Director Matt Wilson added: “Heineken Vietnam always seeks to use local suppliers where possible in order to drive jobs and wealth in Vietnam. Because of this, we are very happy to see Intermalt entering the local market with the potential to supply us with locally produced malt in the future and increase our contribution to the Vietnamese economy."

The Interflour Group was established in 2005 with the acquisition of 5 flour mills and has since then doubled the number of facilities with operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Turkey and the Philippines. The group has a capacity to produce over 7,000 tons of wheat flour daily with a majority of the wheat being supplied by Australian farmers.

Interflour has also extended itself along the supply chain into grain storage and port services, trading and baking enhancement products. With the establishment of Intermalt and the new malt factory in Vietnam the group opens a new line of business to process not only wheat but also barley.

Thus, CBH is following in the footsteps of other cooperatives. Vivescia, a company arisen from the merger of French cooperatives Champagnes Céréales and Nouricia  are 100% owner of Malteurop Groupe, one of the world’s leading maltings. Boortmalt, another major player in the global malting business is owned by another French cooperative Axéréal.

Last year, Australian Grains Champion (AGC) made up of a group of Western Australian growers and backed by bulk grain handler GrainCorp, proposed privatization of the CBH Group, and listing it on the Australian Stock Exchange. However, CBH’s board rejected the offer on March 14, 2016 and presented later a survey that showed that 78% of grower members supported the board’s decision. On Sept. 19, 2016 the AGC announced it was retreating from its $600 million bid to corporatize CBH.

GrainCorp, which was part of the consortium to privatize CBH Group, is a publicly listed Australian grain handler with a focus on the Australian East coast. In 2009, GrainCorp bought one of the largest malting groups in the world with operations in Australia, North America and the UK.

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