A PALM oil producer is doubling capacity at its Bootle refinery plant, it revealed today.
New Britain Palm Oil, which uses eco-friendly sustainable palm oil resources, said its Regent Road plant has now reached capacity and new plant has been installed which will double production in the second quarter of this year and create 30 new jobs - taking the site's total stafrfing to 70.
The company said: “This, together with the packing and bakery plant commissioned in early 2012, will provide New Britain Palm Oil with the launch pad for further growth from the second half of 2013 onwards.”
The refinery employs about 30 people and the packing and bakery operation a similar number.
News of the expansion was contained within the group’s results for the full year to December 31 which showed a fall in revenues and profits.
Sales fell 13.2% to approximately £451m after conversion from US dollars. Pre-tax profits decreased 70.4% to £54.4m.
Group chairman Antonio Monteiro De Castro said: “The past year has presented a number of unprecedented climatic and market-related challenges, some of which have had a significant adverse effect on the group’s performance.
“Very wet conditions at our biggest production site in West New Britain Province in Papua New Guinea hampered harvesting in the first quarter of 2012.
“We also saw the full effects of the appreciation of the Papua New Guinea currency (PNG Kina) compared to the US Dollar. The appreciating PNG Kina has increased our domestic wages and any locally consumed services and materials in US Dollar terms.
“Lower world palm oil prices were another major factor that impacted the group’s results.
“In 2012 crude palm oil prices peaked at close to $1,200 in April but had fallen to $770 by December.
“Far more dramatic was the fall in palm kernel oil prices which reached $2,330 per tonne in 2011 and fell to a low of $725 in 2012.
“While only 10% of our oil is palm kernel oil, this large fall in prices had a significant impact on our 2012 performance compared to 2011.”
However, he added: “The group has put in place certain measures to ensure that 2013 will be a more robust trading year.
“Operationally we entered 2013 better prepared to cope with the wet weather in the January to April period.
“Harvest intervals are under control at all sites and adequate labour numbers are on hand to cope with temporary harvesting delays caused by bad weather.
“To mitigate currency effects we have looked and continue to look at efficiency and cost saving measures across the business. We have already locked in cheaper fertiliser and oil freight costs for 2013. Improvements in management and general overhead costs are also expected in 2013.
“The group is undoubtedly better placed with the measures now in place and those coming through to take advantage of any upward movement in palm oil prices.”