HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM — Emerald Grain’s parent company Sumitomo Corp. announced on March 24 plans to build a new wheat flour mill outside Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The new plant, named CJ-SC Global Milling, will commence operations by May 2015. The mill will manufacture 150,000 tonnes of wheat flour per year for Vietnam and Cambodia, mainly for premium bread and banh-mi bread rolls. Sumitomo has a 49% share in the facility, alongside South Korea’s CJ CheilJedang.

Grain trading, marketing, storage and handling group Emerald Grain already exports close to 100,000 tonnes of wheat to Vietnam annually through Sumitomo.

Sumitomo Food, Materials and Real Estate Business Unit Head Asia & Oceania Hideki Hijiya said the new mill means new opportunities for Australian wheat growers. “This mill is part of Sumitomo Corporation’s plan to build integrated supply chains across Asia and provide new pathways for Australian grain into the market,” Hijiya said. “Emerald Grain can work closely with Australian growers to make sure they can supply the right grade and quantity to meet the new mill’s production needs. The end result will be an efficient supply chain direct from grower to the Asian milling customer, lowering costs and offering better pricing opportunities.”

Vietnam currently imports around 2.5 million tonnes of wheat per year, mainly for bread and noodle manufacturing. Hijiya said wheat grown in Australia was popular with Vietnamese milling companies due to its white coloring. “Australia also has a freight advantage into Vietnam compared with some other high-quality grain exporting countries,” he said.

Hijiya said Sumitomo’s long term strategic plan involves more investment in international food and agriculture businesses. “The growing Asian middle class combined with world population growth means there is a lot of opportunity in agribusiness, food processing and food manufacturing,” he said. “Sumitomo’s recent 100% acquisition of Emerald Grain is part of our strategy to be a large player in the food supply chain throughout Asia. Though Emerald Grain, we can source high quality Australian grain, send it through our processing assets and onto large food manufacturers through Asia and the Middle East.”

Sumitomo acquired 100% of Emerald Grain in February 2014. Sumitomo is an integrated trading house with in 66 countries across the globe.