In 2012, the Group entered into a joint venture — Olam Rubber Gabon (“ORG”) — with the RoG to develop greenfield sustainable rubber plantations in Gabon. RoG has a 40 per cent. equity ownership in the joint venture with the balance of 60.0 per cent. owned by the Group. ORG is currently developing 12,000 hectares of rubber plantation under its phase 1 programme, of which 11,000 hectares have been planted.
The Group has also selectively invested in rubber processing. In 2015, it acquired a 90 per cent. stake in Société Agro Industrielle de la Comoe (“SAIC”), a crumb rubber processor with a rated capacity of 20,700 metric tonnes of natural rubber per annum, based in Côte d’Ivoire, which is the largest exporting country of natural rubber in Africa. SAIC sources latex directly from plantations owned by smallholders and cooperatives and processes it into crumb rubber for exports to U.S., European and Asian customers.
Underlying its upstream and processing activities is a core supply chain business that the Group is building in Southeast Asia and West Africa through sourcing offices in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and West Africa, and a direct sales presence in China, India, Europe and Singapore.
We are committed to sustainably developing our rubber plantations amidst consultations with reputed environmental consultants. Whilst the rubber industry has still to come up with well-accepted industry norms, we adhere to the Olam’s Plantations, Concessions and Farms Code which is based on international best practice, and are supporting the development of an industry standard along with the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative.