Kuching, Sarawak – Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd (F&NHB or the Group) is poised to meet growing demand in the East Malaysia with the installation of a new RM31.5 million ultra-high temperature (UHT) processing line at its plant in Kuching.
This first-of-its-kind UHT line in Sarawak, will allow the company to capture increasing demand with an added capacity of 3.4 million cases a year.
The facility was officiated by the Chief Minister of Sarawak, the Right Honourable Datuk Amar Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari at a ceremony held earlier today.
Speaking at the ceremony, F&NHB Chief Executive Officer, Mr Lim Yew Hoe said the new line will better position the Group to serve the local market and improve its environmental footprint.
“Localising production has always been an integral focus for the F&N Group as it enables us to be part of the local community. This indirectly helps us to better understand the needs of our customers in the local market.
Furthermore, with a plant in Kuching, we can minimise the need to ship finished goods from Peninsula Malaysia which will substantially reduce our carbon footprint,” he added.
The investment toward the line was part of over RM300 million capex budgeted for two years to ensure the sustainability of the Group’s business for the future. The new line is expected to offer the Group an estimated annual savings of RM 2.8 million in logistics cost over the next decade.
On the environmental front, the Group has also made a commitment to use more environmentally-friendly packaging solutions. All F&N UHT drink cartons and packets, including those produced on the new line, are made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified packaging.
This year, the Company is also set to expand its recycling initiative in the state. The programme, currently held in Shah Alam, Penang and Seberang Prai, aims to inculcate a recycling mindset among school-goers. F&NHB is working alongside municipal councils and education departments to roll-out the first installment of the programme in Kuching.
F&NHB has a significant presence in Sarawak supporting over 7,800 outlets throughout the state. Besides the soft drinks operation, the company also owns and operates Borneo Springs, a mineral water company. The Group employs over 400 Sarawakians, and over the last 50 years, has successfully trained and developed local talents, who have contributed positively to the continuing growth of the Company. F&NHB’s total investments in the state amount to over RM100 million.
“Our operation in Kuching is one that we are very proud of. Over the years, the plant has become exemplary for all our other production facilities. Within this small 7.4-acre site, we have a Carbonated soft drink (CSD) canning line, a CSD Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) line, a cordial line, a Bag-in-box (BIB) line and now we have a brand new UHT line. Despite its size, it is a full-fledged plant, and certainly one with the most sophisticated warehouse facility,” Lim said.
Sharing the same sentiment, F&NHB Chairman, Tengku Syed Badarudin Jamalullail said that the launch marked a significant milestone for the Group and mirrored the importance of Sarawak as a significant market for the Group and a potential regional center to further expand our export business.
F&NHB commenced operations in Kuching in 1966 with one production line producing a capacity of 567,000 cases per year. The company has since grown its operations and sales manifold. In the last financial year, sales volume in East Malaysia accounts for 13 per cent of the Group’s revenue in Malaysia.