KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Over the last four years, palm oil firms, energy companies and investment companies have been eying Africa for land as global demand for palm oil grows and land runs out.
The latest slew of deals comes from Southeast Asian planters looking outside the region as top producer Indonesia readies a two-year ban on forest clearing this year and No.2 supplier Malaysia runs out of land.
Here is a list of some of the big firms in Africa:
- The Singapore-listed agri-business owns oil palm estates in Uganda and West Africa via joint ventures with a total planted area of about 6,000 hectares and 39,000 hectares. The joint ventures also manage nearby smallholders schemes in these areas.
- Singapore’s second largest palm oil firm said in 2010 it plans to invest in Liberia-based Golden Veroleum that signed a $1.6 billion (961.3 million pounds) deal for a 500,000 acre estate in the southeast of the country.
- The world’s largest listed planter by land holdings, Malaysia’s Sime Darby, has a 220,000 hectare concession in Liberia in a 2009 deal. It started cultivating oil palms this year with first maturity expected after the fourth year of planting.
- The Financial Times reported that Sime Darby was considering a $2.5 billion plantation expansion deal for 300,000 hectares in Cameroon, but the company said it had not yet entered into any agreements.
- Singapore-listed agribusiness Olam inked a deal with the Gabon government in 2010 to develop 300,000 hectares of oil palm and rubber estates. Planting will start next year. In the first phase of the project, Olam will spend $236 million.
- The Chinese firm said in 2009 it was targeting a 1 million hectare oil palm plantation in the Democratic Republic of Congo for biofuel production as its parent, IT firm ZTE (000063.SZ), wants to diversify its revenue streams.
- Brazilian agriculture operator Quifel runs farms in Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Angola. The firm has 40,000 hectares of land for oil palms, sugar and rice.
- Societe Financiere des Caoutchoucs (SOCFIN), part of France’s Bollore Group (BOLL.PA), owns over 51,000 hectares of palm estates in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon that produce about 650,000 tonnes of the tropical oil.
- A unit of German energy utility RWE (RWEG.DE), the Italian green fuels firm signed a 30-year deal with the Republic of Congo to take over 40,000 hectares of oil palms in 2008. The deal includes taking over two state-owned planters.
- The firm took over a dormant oil palm estate in Nigeria in 2007 that came with a concession of over 11,000 hectares with rights to extend land to 100,000 hectares.
- Also known as Société d’Investissement pour l’Agriculture Tropicale, the Belgium group has a 60 percent stake in Nigerian-listed planter Presco Plc (PRESCO.LG) that owns 12,500 hectares.
- SIAT runs 8,000 hectares of industrial oil palm estates in Ghana and supports 13,000 hectares belonging to small farmers. In Gabon, the firm has 7,500 hectares of land. In total, the firm produces 50,000 tonnes of palm oil.
- An affiliate of New York-based Herakles Capital, the firm is developing a palm project over more than 200,000 hectares in West Africa.
- The London-listed firm holds 169,000 hectares of land in Liberia. It has a 10-year target to plant 50,000 hectares and produce 250,000 tonnes of palm oil.
- Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever’s UNc.AS (ULVR.L) subsidiary is looking to divest its 40 percent stake in Twifo Oil Palm Plantation Limited due to weak output and high costs, local media said.
- A unit of Canada’s TriNorth Capital, Feronia bought a controlling stake in Unilever’s Plantations et Huileries du Congo in 2009. The plantation company holds 100,000 hectares, of which 70,000 hectares will have oil palms.
- Italian oil firm Eni (ENI.MI) and the Republic of Congo inked a memorandum of understanding in 2008 to cultivate oil palms on 70,000 hectares for biofuel output.
- ENI is also looking to source palm oil from Angola to feed its biofuel processors.
Compiled by Niluksi Koswanage; Editing by Sugita Katyal