(Updated)

Pineapple is the latest hype in IOI Corp's diversification push

Pineapple is the latest hype in IOI Corp's diversification push
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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 3): IOI Corp Bhd said that within the early months of 2022, the oil palm planter expects to reap a bountiful harvest of MD2 pineapples as well as other cash crops when they are ripe for harvest.

In a statement on its website yesterday (Feb 2), IOI Corp said that with the tenacity and persistency of its Tangkak, Johor-based Sagil Estate team, 25,000 MD2 pineapples have been planted each month since August 2020.

"By December 2020, a staggering 125,000 MD2 pineapples had been successfully planted with minimal workforce. These pineapples were intercropped between rows of aromatic green dwarf/pandan coconut trees and other crops such as bananas and kenaf at Sagil Estate," IOI Corp said.

"Naturally sweet, rich in aroma, containing up to four times more Vitamin C than other variations, this global favourite roots all the way from Costa Rica. Here in Malaysia, do you know it is hailed as the Musang King of pineapples? MD2 pineapples are currently the most popular variety planted in Malaysia due to the high domestic demand and global demand, specifically from China," the company claimed.

Instead of relying solely on oil palm, IOI Corp's strategic priority to diversify to other crops was envisioned by its group managing director and chief executive Datuk Lee Yeow Chor in his five-year plan, which was introduced in March 2020, according to the company.

"As we diversify our crops from 99% reliance on oil palm to other crops, we will be limiting our exposure to palm oil price volatility as we grow and yield a field of profitable cash crops.

"Intercropping pineapples with other fast-growing crops will also improve our soil conservation and increase our land output," IOI Corp said.

According to IOI Corp's website, its oil palm business comprises upstream plantation operations in Malaysia and Indonesia; and downstream resource-based manufacturing operations.

IOI Corp said as at June 30, 2020, its total planted area, which includes figures from subsidiaries, stood at 178,068ha while its associate's total planted area stood at 132,578ha. 

"Our total planted area is 99% oil palm, (of) which, 83% are classified as mature," said IOI Corp, which owns a 32.1% stake in Singapore-listed Bumitama Agri Ltd.

Meanwhile, IOI Corp's downstream resource-based manufacturing segment involves refining and processing of crude palm oil and palm kernel oil into oleochemical and specialty oils and fats products.

"We own two palm oil refineries in Malaysia and four oleochemical manufacturing plants in Malaysia and Germany. Our specialty oils and fats manufacturing business is carried out by our 30%-owned associate company, Bunge Loders Croklaan (formerly known as IOI Loders Croklaan), which has manufacturing operations in Malaysia, the Netherlands, USA, Canada, Ghana and China," IOI Corp said.

On Bursa Malaysia today, IOI Corp's share price was up one sen or 0.24% at 3.50pm to RM4.26, which values the company at about RM26.8 billion.

IOI Corp's latest reported number of issued shares stood at 6.29 billion.

Chong Jin Hun