WA grain co-operative CBH Group has welcomed the opening of Interflour’s US$70 million Intermalt facility in Vietnam, which the Group says will provide Western Australian grain growers with direct access to the Asian beer market.
CBH chairman Wally Newman and chief executive officer Andy Crane attended the ceremony, alongside directors and senior leaders from Interflour, and representatives from the Vietnamese government, earlier this month.
Newman said CBH’s involvement in downstream grain processing, through its 50% shareholding of Interflour, had diversified the co-operative’s income stream and resulted in increased market opportunities for Australian grain.
“CBH’s investment in Interflour 12 years ago was ground breaking and today’s opening of the Intermalt facility in Vietnam marks a new phase of growth for the business as it moves into barley processing and expands across South East Asia,” he said.
“It will be a new chapter for Western Australian barley growers who now have direct access to Vietnam’s burgeoning beer market – the fastest growing beer market in Asia.”
The CBH chairman said growers delivered 1.5 million tonnes of malt barley into the CBH receival network in the past harvest. As part of the final commissioning phase, Intermalt has already purchased 42,000 tonnes of malt barley, with 32,000 tonnes coming from the Kwinana and Albany port zones of the WA grain belt.
Intermalt is located in Cai Mep, Vietnam, and will be the largest malting plant in South East Asia, CBH said. It will have the capacity to produce 110,000 tonnes of malt a year and will service major brewers in the region including Heineken Vietnam.
“Not only is the Intermalt infrastructure impressive, but so too is the growth and opportunity it affords our growers, our businesses and the Asia Pacific region as a whole,” Newman said.
“Our current and future growers can look forward to benefiting from Interflour’s expansion and this new venture generating value that we can then return to them a number of ways including through our investment rebate.”
Heineken Vietnam’s Matt Wilson said the company was happy to see Intermalt entering the local market.
“Heineken Vietnam always seeks to use local suppliers where possible in order to drive jobs and wealth in Vietnam,” Wilson said. “Because of this, we are very happy to see Intermalt entering the local market with the potential to supply us with locally produced malt in the future and increase our contribution to the Vietnamese economy.”
Interflour has 10 mills operating in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Turkey.