Palm oil producer New Britain Palm Oil (LON:NBPO) has announced plans to invest around £9 million in a new processing facility at its Liverpool palm oil refinery. The new facility will be the world’s first operation of its type dedicated to manufacturing bakery and foodservice products made with palm oil that only comes from certified sustainable sources. Bakery fats make up approximately 40% of the overall demand for palm oil in the UK and despite many of the UK’s largest bakery manufacturers already showing significant interest in moving to fully sustainable products, only a small proportion is currently made from traceable, certified sustainable palm oil. Bako, the UK’s largest bakery products distributor, has recently launched a range of sustainable bakery products based on fats supplied by NBPO’s subsidiary New Britain Oils and its supply chain partners. Additionally, all of the UK’s major retailers have previously announced their intention to convert all palm based products to segregated, certified sustainable by 2015 and this new facility will bring that reality significantly closer. The new facility will offer a range of high quality, affordable, margarines and bakery fats for use in pastries and cakes, puff and shortcrust pastry as well as shortenings and bread fats, all containing sustainable palm oil and palm oil fractions from a fully traceable source. Boxed palm oil will also be produced for the foodservice sector, such as fish and chip shops and restaurants, as well as for smaller food manufacturers who currently do not buy in bulk. The new facility, which has already received planning permission, will have the capability of meeting a significant percentage of the UK bakery and foodservice sector demand and is planned to come on stream by spring 2012. All the palm oil supplied into the Liverpool refinery is currently sourced from NBPO’s own Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil Certified Sustainable operations in Papua New Guinea and which include the production from over 8,000 certified sustainable smallholders. Alan Chaytor, executive director of NBPO, said: “This marks another significant step towards giving the UK market what it really wants – affordable and responsibly sourced palm based food ingredients. The bakery fats category represents approximately 40% of the palm and palm oil derivatives demand in the UK and was part of our thought process right from the start. Many companies in this sector have claimed for years that it is just too difficult to buy sustainable products and so they either do nothing or end up buying offset certificates. However, companies like Bako, Nortech and Olympic Foods have already proven that it can be done. It makes perfect sense for us to invest now in providing an even greater volume of traceable sustainable solutions to that part of the market.” Last month NBPO reported that annual revenues had increased by 45% to US$470.5 million due to higher prices for palm oil in 2010 particularly in the second half of the year. Profit before tax increased by 54% to US$131.2 million. The New Britain Palm Oil share price dipped by 1.5% to 957.5p this morning but remains close to its 12-month high of 985p and well up on the 491.5p trading level a year ago.
updated Mar 11, 2011
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