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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        20 January 2011

F&N wants to be regional player

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Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd (F&N) wants to transform from a regulated franchise business to a regional food and beverage player in three to five years.

Chief executive officer Datuk Jordon Ng Jui Sia said the company planned to expand its business regionally, particularly to Asean countries.

"We are looking to develop our food division as a core business, together with our other established core business divisions of beverage, dairy and property," he said after F&N AGM yesterday.

F&N invested RM55mil for a 23.08 percent stake in Cocoaland Holdings Bhd to enable it to venture into the manufacture and distribution of processed and preserved snack food, fruits and other related food products.

He said as F&N was new to the food business, the acquisition and its management participation in the Cocoaland business in future would enable it to better understand the market and competitive landscape of the food business in Malaysia, with the view of growing the business further. "With our distribution and marketing capability, we are able to assist Cocoaland to improve on its operating efficiency and strengthen its brand name."

On F&N's plan to move its factory in Section 14, Petaling Jaya to Pulau Indah in Klang, Ng said it was time to upgrade its plant and machinery to be more efficient ones as the factory in Section 14 was more than 40 years old and was limited by space and production capacity. "Besides, our RM350mil factory in Pulau Indah is close to the halal hub which makes it easier for distribution of our products," he said

On its Thai operations, Ng said its marketing unit F&N Marketing Sdn Bhd had just been granted the rights to market, distribute and sell F&N's range of products in the additional territories of Thailand and Brunei under the current distribution agreement by their parent company Fraser & Neave Ltd.

He also said Thailand was not entirely new to the company. "Over the four years, F&N had already established significant presence in Thailand via our dairies business which contributed substantial revenue amounting to RM867mil during the last financial year. Currently, we are in the midst of drawing up an expansion plan for the beverage business in Thailand and will initially focus on southern Thailand using our iconic 100PLUS brand as the launching pad," said Ng.

A new wholly-owned subsidiary would be formed to manage the distribution business in Thailand, he added.

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