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Sunday 22 August 2010

Olam in Gabon tie-up to develop timber SEZ

Group to put in US$12m equity for 60% in JV vehicle; Gabon govt to hold 40%

(BT Weekend Singapore)

OLAM International, a global integrated supply chain manager and processor of agricultural products and food ingredients, has entered into a strategic partnership agreement with the government of Gabon to jointly develop a special economic zone (SEZ) at Nkok for timber processing in Gabon.

Olam will invest US$12 million equity in the SEZ development project for a 60 per cent stake in a joint-venture vehicle. The government of Gabon holds the balance 40 per cent.

To encourage local processing of logs and export of high value-added wood products, the government of Gabon is setting up an SEZ that offers developed infrastructure and fiscal incentives for the timber industry to invest in timber processing activities in the country, said Olam.

As one of the participants in the proposed SEZ, Olam will be eligible for additional forestry concessions that are reserved for all participants.

'The strategic partnership between Olam and the government of Gabon also paves the way for Olam to tap into new agricultural investment opportunities that fit into its long term strategic growth plan in Gabon,' the company said.

Gabon is one of the key countries identified in Olam's wood products growth strategy for accessing forestry concessions and saw milling opportunities. Olam currently owns 400,000 hectares of forestry concessions for tropical hardwoods in Gabon. The joint venture with Gabon to develop an SEZ for timber processing supports the company's interest to expand its forestry concessions and timber processing activities there, it added.

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