Greg Harvey, managing director and chief executive officer of Interflour, said it was a major milestone for the business, diversifying from flour production but continuing to use the scale, logistic and grain processing expertise within the group.
“We have had a presence in Vietnam for 12 years through our investment in building the deep water port terminal at Cai Mep and large scale storage facility as well as our flour milling operations,” Harvey said. “It made good sense to leverage the supply chain and with the beer market growing at such a strong rate in Vietnam, malting was an obvious choice for us. Traditionally this market has been dominated by European malt supply but we are opening the Vietnamese market to a supply more focused from the Asia-Pacific region, using predominantly Western Australian barley.”
As part of the final commissioning phase, Intermalt has purchased 42,000 tonnes of malt barley, with 32,000 tonnes coming from the Kwinana and Albany port zones of the Western Australian grain belt. Over the past harvest, growers delivered 1.5 million tonnes of malt barley into the CBH receival network and the facility provides a new market for growers.
CBH invested in Interflour 12 years ago, and has a 50% shareholding of the business. Wally Newman, chairman of CBH, said the Intermalt facility marks a new phase of growth for the business as it moves into barley processing and expands across Southeast Asia.
“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,” Newman said.
The facility, located in the southern Vietnamese province of Bà R?a-V?ng Tàu, will have the capacity to produce 110,000 tonnes of malt a year and will service major brewers in the region, including Heineken Vietnam. It has the ability to process approximately 140,000 tonnes of malting barley.
“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.”
James Kirton, general manager of Intermalt, said the beer market in Vietnam is growing rapidly and that the newest arm of the Interflour conglomerate will be at the forefront of bringing locally produced malt right to region’s breweries.
“This market is the fastest growing beer market in Asia, with consumption growing at an average rate of 6% to 9% per annum over the past 10 years,” he said. “Beer is the number one alcoholic beverage of choice here, staggeringly 95% of alcohol consumed in Vietnam is beer.”