Interflour Managing Director and Chief Executive Greg Harvey signed on Thursday with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia and Subic Bay Gateway Park President Jeff Lin a 50-year lease agreement that would pave the way for the mill project.
Garcia said the proposed milling facility is expected to be completed within two years at a 52,852-square-meter lot in the Subic Bay Gateway Park, an industrial estate here that hosts mostly Taiwanese manufacturing companies.
The Interflour project will be run under the business name Mabuhay Interflour Mill Inc. and will involve the milling of wheat into food flour for direct sale to consumers, distributors and retailers in the domestic and for-export markets.
Garcia said the project would provide bakeshops and food companies in the country with the highest quality flour in a much lower price since its location in Subic would cut down the cost of transporting flour to Central and Northern Luzon by as much as 50 percent.
He said the project will also generate for the SBMA about P5.5 million in additional revenue each year from fees to be collected from ships bringing in wheat from countries like Australia, the United States, Canada, as well as Europe and the Black Sea countries.
Harvey said during the signing ceremony that while the company initially set a daily target of 500 MT for the Subic operation, that output is expected to double by 2019 under the firm's capacity-building program.
"The Philippines is an important market in Asia, with an estimated 25,000 bakeshops and with Gardenia as the largest.
Interflour will be offering the finest flour for the local market, particularly in Central Luzon," Harvey said. Harvey also said the Interflour Group is now one of the biggest flour milling companies in the world with seven flour mills in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkey.
The combined wheat-milling capacity of these mills, Harvey said, is nearly 6,000 tons per day, which is equivalent to almost 1.5 million tons of flour produced each year.
Interflour recently announced a $150-million expansion program across four countries in Southeast Asia, as it aspired to join the elite list of the 10 biggest flour millers in the world. The expansion includes new mills in Thailand and Malaysia, the new facility in Subic, and a malting plant in Vietnam.
In the Philippines, with a population of 98 million, the firm expects a growing demand for grain from flour and feed millers as annual flour consumption among Filipinos has hit an average of 24 kilos per person.
That figure is expected to rise with the standard of living, the firm said.